By MICHELLE BEAHM | Staff Writer
Indoor soccer is a great way to stay active, for people of all ages.
At least, that's what the general consensus is at Olympic Soccer and Sports Center (OSSC) in Bremerton.
"It's fun and it's good exercise," said Kristin Brawn, who plays in the Women's B League two days a week at OSSC.
OSSC is the only indoor soccer center in Kitsap County, so people travel from all over the county to be able to participate in the sport. Brawn used to play in The Zone Sportsplex, in Poulsbo, because it was closer to where she lives. The Zone closed in January, 2012, however.
Brawn says that even though The Zone was closer to her house, she prefers the rules at OSSC better, more specifically the co-ed rules.
Hamid Khan, another twice-weekly regular, likes the location of OSSC.
"We don't really have anything else in Bremerton, so this is definitely a good thing," he said.
OSSC is known as a family-friendly environment, and people often visit with their entire families, including small children, in tow.
"It's nice to be able to bring families out and your kids, and you know they're in here and they're safe," said Khan.
Dennis Michael, a co-founder of the center and one of the current six owners, appreciates the "family-oriented atmosphere." There is a youth program called Rising Star Academy open to all youths.
"It introduces them to soccer, and then the older age groups are more strategies and different skills," Michael said.
Of their three indoor fields, one of them is smaller, for children.
"We have all age groups, all the way from four year olds to people up into their seventies playing," Michael said.
Anyone is able to play indoor soccer year-round at OSSC. In order to participate, you would need to purchase a "player card," which is good for a year, before being eligible to play for a variety of teams.
"Once they're registered for a player card, they would look at the team availability," Michael said. The teams run on eight week sessions, and at the end of each session new registration is accepted.
There are different leagues in OSSC, from co-ed no contact to women's leagues and men's leagues, and so on. The start of each league's session is staggered so there are more opportunities to start playing.
There is also a drop-in option, for people who don't want to join a league, but just want to play soccer.
"Anybody who shows up can play, and it's usually between 9:45 and 10 in the morning," said Lindsey Beahm, who has been working at OSSC for almost two years. "You play until everybody's tired."
Beahm, who works in the cafe and the bar in OSSC, has been playing indoor soccer there since it first opened twelve years ago. She plays soccer four or five times a week, depending on whether or not she participates in the drop-in option. As an employee, she gets a discount on games; she said it amounts to one free game per 20 hours of work.
"It helps me pay for my soccer habit," she said, about her job. She also said she enjoys it because "you get to watch soccer, and talk to people who play soccer."
The soccer center is not strictly for league and drop-in soccer games, though. According to Michael, there are at least three fundraising tournaments held a year, sometimes more if other organizations book them.
The center has also hosted other events, such as mixed martial arts bouts, viewing parties for special events like the Superbowl and soccer games, and so on. OSSC has a separated pub in their facility, and there are televisions throughout the building, for such events.
"Most of the people here just get it, you're here for fun," said Erin Kirby, a regular player at OSSC. Her entire family, too, plays indoor soccer. "Sometimes it gets a little crazy, but it's usually pretty calm and so family friendly."
In the end, most people just seem to agree that the best part about OSSC is the opportunity to play soccer and get exercise.
"I've played soccer a long time, and it's just nice to be able to continue that," Beahm said. "Most sports, you don't have that after high school."
For more information on Olympic Soccer and Sports Center, visit their website at www.olympicindoorsoccer.com or call 360-479-8388.