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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oakley Soccer League

It's quite a contrast from Chicago Indoor Soccer, but I had the luck to check out the Oakley Soccer League facility at 62nd and Oakley tonight. From the outside, it looks like just another abandoned warehouse across the street from the barbed wire keeping people away from some train tracks.

But inside, there's a whole little indoor soccer space, with a nice surface (I didn't step on it, but it looked comfy) nets all over to keep the ball on the field, and even some room for bleachers. A yuppie like me enjoyed the exposed brick and high ceilings while laughing at the visible insulation falling apart way up there and hoping there wasn't any asbestos.

Back down on the ground, plenty of dads and tios were cheering for their favorite little guys on the field. "Victor, arriba!" one dad kept yelling. Peter Pan's little brothers were playing--I saw one of them score. There was a kid in Gunsaulus sweat pants and I thought even a couple of white boys in the crowd.

Peter Pan's neighbor had brought them over. He lives on the south end of the block in a house that looks pretty crappy from the outside, but he tells me he's fixed it up on the inside. He really stays on the down-low: his kids are never outside, the house is nothing to look at, etc. But he owns his own trucking business, his oldest daughter just got into Bronzeville Military (score another decent high school for an 8th grader on the block) and his younger kids all go to Saucedo in Little Village. He had one of them in Chavez for a few months, but decided it wasn't challenging enough for his kids.

He looks out for Peter Pan and his brothers and sisters, too. You never know what dividends you'll get from being an honorary soccer mom.

By the way, if you're looking for a place to play soccer, they have youth leagues and adult leagues. The youth leagues go from 6 and under to 16 and under. Call Hector at 773-629-2498 or Fernando at 773-983-4895. On the way home, Peter Pan suggested they get a bunch of kids and parents together and rent the place out to play soccer sometime. Sounds like a good idea to me, but maybe when it's a little warmer. There's no heat, and even in a down jacket and long johns, I was freezing after a while. The little kids seemed just fine running around in their soccer shorts, though.

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