Indoor popularity continues to rise around the region

Soccer commentary

Indoor soccer has hit a fevered pitch with the number of sites, tournaments and leagues now available.

The Summit Tennis and Athletic Club ran its two league sessions with the second session set to wrap up on March 8-10. It also held its standard indoor tournaments, except they are all played in the touchline format now with an indoor futsal ball. The days of pounding the big fuzzy green indoor soccer balls off of the wooden blaster boards surrounding the courts are over.

The indoor game is now meant to enhance the players’ outdoor game and skills. The Summit is the grandfather of indoor soccer with play taking part indoors there since the early 1990s under the direction of Tony Alianiello for many years then under son, Mike Alianiello, for over approximately 15 years.

n The Saint Francis University men’s soccer-sponsored indoor futsal tournament was held Feb. 24 for u-10,u-12 and u-14 ages in the SFU auxillary gym, but the Mountain Classic Tournament changed formats for the high school aged brackets and was taken out to the 4G turf field for players to take part in the first ever 7 vs. 7 outdoor tournament at the Stokes Soccerplex.

n By far the biggest edition is the Nittany Valley Sports Centre in State College, which is now open and offers an amazing soccer facility and a host of other sports and activities.

It is a 67,000 square foot state of the art indoor facility and is fully climate controlled for indoor play. It offers a 20,000 square foot indoor field with Puregrass turf. It has regulation size little league infield batting cages and pitching tunnels.

There is also a 10,000 square foot hardcourt area for basketball, volleyball, field hockey and futsal indoor soccer play. It will also offer a 16,000 square foot gymnastics training center and 4,000 square foot speed and agility training area. Other sports to be held there include lacrosse, softball and flag football.

State College High School soccer coach Danny Orton has had a very active role in development and play at the facility. Orton has an extremely strong soccer background, most notably as a player in the Leicester City Academy in England and with the Penn United Soccer Club. Ortin says the Centre will feature adult soccer leagues for coed, men’s and women’s divisions, along with the youth leagues. There will be recreational and competitive divisions at the complex.

Ortin also stressed the indoor field will have the look and feel of real grass without the rubber pellets often used in other places. This provides a more natural feel for play and a much cleaner playing surface. They will be partnering with Penn United Soccer Academy with programs to include leagues, training camps, clinics and tournaments. Teams can register as a group, or players can register for play individually.

There will be instructional, recreational and competitive play. Ortin is looking for his competitive leagues to be great offseason training opportunities for players from all around the surrounding regions to tune up skills and prepare for outdoor seasons. The Nittany Valley Sports Centre has a website at www.thecentrepa.com for additional information on all leagues and training facilities offered.

n In other indoor tourneys, The Cabin Fever Blowout Futsal Tourney held at Blair County Christian School took place on Feb. 22-23.

n Bedford is not to be let out of the indoor soccer action. The Bedford Soccer Boosters will hold its Stormin’ into Spring Indoor tournament at the Bedford Middle School on March 16-17. Saturday will feature school teams only with junior high and high school boys teams going at it. Sunday, March 17 will have the u-11 and u-13 coed and travel teams going after the gold. This is a 5 vs. 5 tournament including the goalie with three games guaranteed to every team.

n The Penn Cambria Soccer Boosters will hold its first annual Rumble on the Mountain 7 vs. 7 soccer tourney. The event will be held Saturday, May 11 with u11, u13 and high school boys taking part. There is a maximum roster of 10 players per squad, and all teams are guaranteedthree games.

n The 2018-19 soccer season has been an extremely busy one with interest continuing to grow and new facilities sponsoring new tournaments and new facilities emerging in our area. The interest by coaches and players alike has blossomed over the last 25 years.

Tom Schmitt writes a monthly soccer column for the Mirror.