North Alabama Indoor Soccer Review

At southern soccer our mission is to help foster more soccer in the Huntsville valley,  whether that be through our own tournaments, or through promoting other opportunities around the area…quite frankly we just want more soccer! Guest contributor Darrell Schmidt (darrell_schmidt [at] knology [dot] net) has provided a thorough review of all the off-season indoor opportunities for those in need of soccer here in North Alabama. Anything we’ve missed here? have some photos? More info? Let us know in the comments!

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Fall season outdoor soccer is now over.  Some of us are relieved.  Others want more.  So indoor soccer is the option for more soccer between fall and spring outdoor soccer seasons.  But there is no regular indoor league to turn to.  There are some pockets of activity with some coming and going.  This article covers the current indoor soccer games in the North Alabama.

Rocket City Futbol

The newest indoor venue is at Athletic Club Alabama (formerly called Huntsville Athletic Club) on Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville, with three pitches hosting games concurrently over three hours on Saturday nights.  It’s called Rocket City Futbol and described to be futsal-ish, but it’s only like futsal in three ways: (1) play within touchlines/goal lines, (2) kick-ins instead of throw-ins, and (3) restarts must be done within 4 seconds.  All else is like outdoor soccer played indoors even though some futsal terminology is used (goal kicks are called “goal clearances”).   Also, while using small goals and no goalkeepers, the game is still defined to be played 5v5, which is too crowded for a pitch that is only 84 feet long by 36 feet wide, much narrower than a basketball court.

But with that said, kudos must be given to the organizers of Rocket City Futbol.  Three divisions of teams have been organized to play matches from December 1, 2012 through February 16, 2013.  I hope all have fun and this can become a permanent league, perhaps played between seasons in both winters AND summers.  You can view their website at www.rcfutbol.com

Soccer Village in Greenbrier

Another season of adult futsal games sprung up in the winter of 2011 and was played by mostly very talented Hispanic teams in a warehouse at the former Greenbrier cotton gin.  In fact, in preparation for the season of games, the first ever USSF Futsal Referee Certification Clinic was taught in Alabama with a number of referees becoming certified futsal referees.  Unfortunately while the league was registered with Super F League, teams failed to register and thus the season was conducted as unsanctioned games.  So close!  Regardless, fun games were played on a spacious pitch, about 65 feet by 120 feet long, covered with artificial turf, but again this was not standard futsal.  Sorry to inform you, but standard futsal is to be played on smooth surfaces.  Nicely, standard sized goals were used and teams consisted of the normal 5 players, one of which was a goalkeeper.  Sadly, it was the only season of games at the so-called Soccer Village.  Southern Convention Services, owner of the property of the old Greenbrier cotton gin, discontinued use of the warehouse for soccer activities due to financial issues with this particular activity.

United Soccer Club (USC)

In the winter of 2012 USC rented Soccer Village for off-season practice and training.  That worked well for USC, but the assets were still being liquidated by Southern Convention Services, owner of Soccer Village.  USC subsequently purchased some of the equipment and set up another winter practice facility in a building behind Woody Anderson Ford off of Jordan Lane.  The program began December 1, 2012 and continues through February 17, 2013 with participation by USC and other club players.  Consideration is being given to a small tournament at the end of this winter’s program.  You may view the USC website at www.unitedsoccerclub.org, but at the time of this writing this new practice site and tournament talk are not there yet. [This paragraph added 1/25/2013.]

Gymball

Prior to Soccer Village, our local semi-professional soccer team, Rocket City United, organized a season of indoor soccer played on the basketball court at the Sparkman Freshman Academy in 2009.  Five very quick games, 12 min halves, were played each Tuesday night by 5-a-side teams formed mostly from HASL players and one team from Decatur.  Goalkeepers and standard sized goals were used.  Unfortunately, due to the unavailability of basketball courts (during basketball season!) this was not repeated the next year or any year afterwards.

Intergraph Corp.

Employees of Intergraph continue to play futsal year round in their Wellness Center on their basketball court at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Fridays.  They have been playing futsal for several years to date with participation limited to employees and family members of employees.  These are simply pickup games with small goals and no goalkeepers.  5v5 is considered too crowded.  4v4 is ideal.  3v3 is the minimum.

Rocket City United (RCU) Development Academy

Our local semi-professional soccer club, Rocket City United (RCU), is currently hosting a youth development academy at the University Fitness Center.  Coached by RCU players Felix Obilo and Jacob Letsholo on Tuesdays, futsal games are played on Saturdays for youth from 6 through 14 years old.  This began early, November 27th, and will end before the holidays, on Saturday December 22nd.

Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville

The Huntsville Futbol Club (HFC) is conducting an indoor program again this winter.  This is a soccer coaching activity followed by futsal scrimmages.  Registration has ended and sessions have begun.  For youth from U8 through U13, sessions are conducted weekly, mostly on Sundays, from early December through three weeks of January.  Mo Khodabandeh is coaching the players and I trust the coaching will be excellent.  Scrimmages are played 4v4 without goalkeepers and using smaller goals instead.

D1 Sports / YMCA Huntsville

Last year, the Huntsville Futbol Club (HFC} conducted an indoor program at D1 Sports and YMCA on Weatherly Road.  This year it is being conducted at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

Madison AYSO

The annual Region 498 AYSO indoor season, around 20 of them to date, will run from mid-January to early March.  Last year they changed to the FIFA futsal laws of the game and will continue the same this next season.  It is believed that the players will develop much more ball control skills by playing futsal than by playing wall-ball, which they played for years and years.  Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, played at the West Madison Elementary School, Liberty Middle School, and the new James Clemens High School with a cost of only $15 per player.  Players are limited to youth players coached by trained AYSO volunteers, as is standard for AYSO.  Pairs of AYSO referees officiate the games.  Games are played 5v5 with goalkeepers with minimal exceptions to the FIFA Futsal LOTG.

Other AYSO Regions

None of the other AYSO regions are hosting indoor soccer activities this winter.

Boys & Girls Club in Huntsville

The Boys and Girls Club (B&GC) on Abington Avenue is again hosting training and futsal games on Friday nights throughout December and January and February 2013 for youth players.  With a cost of only $25 per player, youth from 6 to 9 years old play at 5:30pm and youth 10 years old and above play at 6:30pm with coaching by Daniel Hammonds.  Participation is open – not limited to members of the B&GC.  In fact some club teams are taking advantage of this venue for continued skills development during the winter months.

Boys & Girls Club in Decatur

Last year in Decatur former USA Men’s National Team player Desmond Armstrong organized an indoor soccer activity at the Boys and Girls Club for youth and adult players.  I said “organized” but there were no designated teams and no schedule.  I feel I must describe it as pickup games with extraordinary coaching.  This winter Desmond Armstrong is repeating some of this, but at a smaller level since he now lives in Nashville.

Central United Methodist Church in Decatur

This used to be a venue for indoor soccer games for youth.  It was organized co-ed youth teams for U5 through U16 players with games on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from late November through February.  No practices – just games.  They played wall-ball with 15 minute halves.  But this year the season was replaced by a tournament that was conducted on the weekend of December 8 and 9th.  The tournament games were conducted futsal style, 4v4 including goalkeepers.

Grissom Tiger Rumble

Grissom High School Boys and Girls Soccer Boosters Clubs will conduct another fundraiser for their soccer programs by hosting an indoor soccer tournament on the weekend of January 5 and 6, 2013.  This will be the 9th time they have conducted such a tournament. Games will be played by U8 through U19 youth teams using the international futsal laws of the game with minimal exceptions.  This is just two days in all of the winter season, but a well designed and executed soccer tournament.

Bob Jones Great Patriot Shootout

Bob Jones High School has hosted indoor tournaments a number of times in the past.  Unfortunately, they will not be hosting a tournament this winter.

Scottsboro, Hazel Green, Athens, Hartselle, Florence and the Tri-cities

No known indoor soccer activities.

That summarizes all known indoor soccer activity this winter.  Also see the comparison table below.  But if this article omitted a current or recent former indoor soccer activity, please accept my apologies and send details of the indoor soccer activity to Darrell_Schmidt [at] yahoo.nospam.com. (Of course, make it into a real email address first and without “.nospam”)

Comparison of Current Indoor Activities

The following table compares characteristics of the indoor soccer activities occurring this winter (2012/2013).

Venue Ages Fixed Teams or Pickup Open Registration Futsal or Wall-Ball Pitch Cost Season Dates3
RC Futbol Adult 18 teams in 3 division Yes Unique Rules: Not Wall-ball, Similar to Futsal Created from halves of tennis courts:36’ wide, 84’ long $500 per team 12/1/2012 – 2/16/2013
Intergraph Wellness Center Adult Pickup games No.  Limited to employees and their families Futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long NA Year Round
Rocket City United Development Academy at University Fitness Center 6 to 14 years old Scrimmages Yes Futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long $55 per player for UFC members and $60 per player for non-UFC members 11/27/2012 – 12/22/2012
HFC Indoor Program at Trinity United Methodist Church 7 to 12 years old Scrimmages Yes Futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long $85 per player 12/2/2012 – 1/20/2013
Madison AYSO 4 to 19 years old Fixed teams Yes U5/6 play wall-ball; others play futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long $15 per player 1/19/2013 – 3/10/2013
Huntsville B&GC 6 to 10 years old and older Scrimmages Yes Futsal Played on junior size basketball court:42’ wide, 74’ long $25 per player 12/7/2012 – 2/22/2013
Decatur B&GC 10 to 19 years old Scrimmages Yes Futsal Played on junior size basketball court:42’ wide, 74’ long TBD TBD
Central United Methodist  Church Decatur Tournament 8 to 18 years old Fixed teams Yes Futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long $100 per team 12/8 and 12/9/2012
Grissom High School Tiger Rumble Tournament 7 to 19 years old Fixed teams Yes Futsal Played on basketball court:50’ wide, 84’ long $160 for U8-U14 teams, $130 for U15-U19 teams 1/5 and 1/6/2013

The Future of Indoor Soccer

With no disrespect to a great speaker and a great speech, I have a dream.  I have a dream of an indoor soccer facility with a large, hockey rink shaped, turf surface soccer arena for playing wall-ball, one or two smaller, wood floor, futsal pitches for playing futsal, a snack bar and a pro shop.  The facility would operate all year round with four or more seasons and possibly used by some clubs for coaching and training.  It would be centrally located in north Alabama, somewhere in Huntsville or Madison.  All of this, but not too expensive.  That would be a dream come true.  Don’t you agree?  If you agree then start making your opinion known and tell your local parks and recreation departments what you want.  I thrust someday the dream will come true.

Self proclaimed soccer nut.

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One comment on “North Alabama Indoor Soccer Review
  1. Chris DeJesus says:

    YES! I think Nothern Alabama could totally support an indoor soccer facility. I played indoor soccer in Northern California for 14 years and I miss the action and exercise a lot. The closest indoor facility is in Birmingham which is way too far to drive. Especially the return trip after playing a rigorous indoor game. Please continue your effort to achieve your dream of a local indoor facility. I am always selling the idea to anyone who will listen to me and would be willing to help you however possible.
    I need my indoor fix,
    Chris D.

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