Dr. Pedro Reyes’ dream of having an indoor sports facility in Waco has finally come to reality.
Waco Indoor Sports Center, located on 8043 Robinson Park Industrial Drive, is the first of its kind to come to Waco, featuring indoor soccer, flag football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and futsal — a variation of indoor soccer on a hard, gym-like surface.
Reyes, a professor in the Hankamer School of Business, said he used to travel to Dallas regularly to play indoor soccer.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to build an indoor soccer facility,” Reyes said.
After getting tenure, Reyes said he thought it was the right time to make his dream come true. Waco senior Rob Hartland and Wichita, Kan., junior Joshua Rogg were some of the first Baylor students and local residents to play soccer in the new indoor center.
“I have really enjoyed being able to play at the new indoor center,” Rogg said. “It is a high-quality field and arena to play in.”
Hartland said it is one of the best indoor facilities he has ever played in.
“The turf is excellent and the arena itself was closed quarters and fast-paced like an indoor facility should be,” Hartland said.
Reyes said there has always been a demand for soccer in Waco, but the sport faced competition from other sports. Reyes said most kids play soccer in youth leagues along with other sports but do not stick with it as they progress. He said the commitment to soccer after youth leagues is not strong because there aren’t proper facilities or leagues that enable development.
“Our vision is to help the soccer community in town grow with this facility,” Reyes said.
“I love that it is filling a need for indoor soccer and Waco had nothing like it before now,” Rogg said. “It is a great addition to the Waco community.”
Hartland is a student-volunteer assistant coach for the Baylor women’s soccer team.
“Waco has always been in the middle of the soccer world, somewhere caught between Dallas and Austin,” Hartland said. “If you didn’t play in high school, you really had to go to one of those cities to play competitively.”
Hartland said he hopes the new indoor center helps the growth and interest of youth in Waco by generating interest and providing a place for all ages to train and play competitively.
Rogg and Hartland both agree that the new indoor center is a beneficial because it allows soccer players to be able to train every day of the week no matter the weather conditions.
“The most exciting aspect of the new arena is how it extends the soccer season and gives it an alternative to canceling an outdoor pickup game because it is too cold or wet out,” Rogg said.
The Waco Indoor Sports Center will start co-ed league play Monday.
Reyes said the leagues will mainly target adults, with the potential for four indoor soccer leagues consisting of a women’s league, a men’s league, a co-ed league and an “over 40 and 50” league.
The indoor center also holds indoor soccer youth skills camps for kids who are still passionate about training and playing.
Reyes said having camps for youth is advantageous because it allows the youth to be excited about the indoor leagues and for the sport itself.
With the FIFA 2014 World Cup coming up, he also said the energy for soccer will be great this coming summer and the World Cup will bring lots of excitement to the sport.
“At the center, people can harness that energy and be excited for the sport as well as letting their passion for soccer grow,” Reyes said.