Soccer squeaks back indoors in Janesville
JANESVILLE If you just listen to the action in the J.P. Cullen Gymnasium at the Janesville YMCA, you might think there’s basketball going on in there.
Starting last weekend, the squeaks of sneakers on varnished hardwood and the thud of the ball are from co-ed soccer games.
That’s right, indoor soccer has returned to Janesville. The Y recently bought padded “boards” to line the court and scheduled leagues for both adults and students.
Kids from Rock County who wanted to play indoor soccer in the off season have been driving to Madison and Sun Prairie for the opportunity since Amazon Station closed its indoor facility years ago, said Dave Javan, YMCA youth program director.
“It’s good they’re doing this,” said Cinthia Tellez, a Parker High School senior as she recovered during halftime of her team’s match with the Milton team.
Tellez said she and her friends had looked for a place to play over the winter with no success.
The heaving chests and perspiration on players’ faces Saturday night testified to the fact that indoor soccer is a great workout.
Javan, a native of England, is a faithful soccer fan, so the project is close to his heart. He plans to play goalkeeper in the adult league that also has started.
The game is a different from traditional soccer, which is played on an expansive grass “pitch” that can be as long as 120 yards and wide as 80 yards.
The indoor floor is about 105 feet long. The narrow confines put the emphasis on ball-handling and passing, and that’s good for developing those skills, Javan said.
“It’s a lot faster, and you have to think quicker. It teaches you angles, and it teaches you speed,” said Mike Sullivan, who coaches a Milton indoor team.
For soccer moms and dads, the advantage is a more practical one.
“It’s nice that it’s closer, instead of driving 45 minutes north,” Sullivan said,
“I think it’ll be good for the kids, and it beats driving an hour to play all the time,” said Tim Whittaker, father of a Marshall Middle School soccer player.
“It’ll be a lot safer when the weather gets bad to be able to stay in town,” Whittaker added.
Javan said he’s pleased with the response. He’s got teams registered from Janesville but also Edgerton, Evansville and Delavan.
The current indoor session ends at the end of February. A second session will be scheduled to start in March.