At long last, indoor soccer is back at the Family Sportsplex in Belleville.
Family Sportsplex General Manager Juergen Huettner announced Monday that an artificial turf field is being installed into one section of the facility and should be ready for league and tournament play within the next few weeks.
"We had gotten several phone calls from people inquiring about indoor soccer and so we changed one of our areas into indoor soccer. The only difference from before is that we won't have any boards,'' Huettner said. "It's going to be like an outdoor game played indoors.''
Huettner said bigger goals will be used and the field is going to be 190-feet long and about 90-feet wide. The goals will be 7-feet tall by 21-feet wide.
"In the normal indoor game if a player shoots wide, the ball hits the boards and it comes back to you. The ball stays alive,'' Huettner said. "With the new system that we have, there will be out of bounds with goal kicks and corner kicks.
"We want to make sure there are still goals scored and so we made the goals a little bigger and gave the game a little more of an outdoor feel.''
The artificial playing surface is similar to the ones at Freeburg, Edwardsville and Columbia high schools.
"It's a very nice playing surface. It's not brand new. We got a break in that it was installed at a high school before and the company gave us a good deal on it,'' Huettner said. "But we're really excited about this and the response we're getting already about leagues and tournaments has been outstanding."
Huettner said that the field should be ready for use by December 18.
Huettner said that the first tournament played on the field will be the Fire and Ice Battle of the Brittneys Tournament, Dec. 20-22. The 28-team event will include men's, women's and high school divisions.
"There are three other facilities in the area which offer indoor soccer and they are all very good. The difference between ours and theirs is that we're not going to have any boards,'' Huettner said. "We feel that ours makes the game a little more interesting and cuts down on the injuries.
"We feel it will take a more skilled soccer player to play this game and that if you like outdoor soccer than you will like this game."
Men's, women's and several youth leagues will begin in January. Registration deadline is Dec. 27.
The Family Sportsplex is located at 2346 Mascoutah Avenue in Belleville. For information about indoor soccer leagues persons can call 277-7111.