The long wait is over. Indoor soccer has arrived in Hobbs, and it’s all thanks to a new facility and coordinator.
With the Indoor Soccer League arena — based out of Crazy Skates at 3907 N. Grimes — ready for operation six months after talks began of it opening, people of all ages within the community now get a chance to compete in an indoor soccer league starting Tuesday.
Many teams, especially those for the adult leagues, have registered to compete already. Owner/administrator John Paul Henderson is ecstatic for the start of his first season running a league, and couldn’t be more pleased to give the community a sport he knows its residents have travelled elsewhere for.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I know that people have been traveling out of town to do indoor soccer. And so for it to be here, in the community and readily available to them, I hope everyone is as excited as I am to have it here.”
So far, it looks like Hobbsans are indeed as excited for this new league.
From Monday-Wednesday, Henderson had what was called “Queen of the Court,” “King of the Court,” and “Royal Family of the Court” competitions where men and women would team up and play on the field. Each event took about two hours on their respective days, where 25 women, 40 men and 60 men and women showed up.
And from the enjoyment Henderson saw those players having, he knows the field, which is just the skating rink with added walls, nets and turf on top, has people excited for indoor soccer so close to their homes.
“I think we had a really great response, there was a lot of positive comments,” he said. “Everyone was very excited that there was something like this, like indoor soccer, in Hobbs.”
For as long as he can remember, Henderson doesn’t recall Hobbs having an indoor soccer league. There have been indoor soccer tournaments. There have been youth camps. But he doesn’t know of any leagues.
As a longtime soccer aficionado and resident of the city, he felt the indoor sport was something missing from a growing soccer community within Hobbs. He’s played indoor soccer for a while with his brother in other towns, but it actually wasn’t until four years ago that he got the idea to start his own league and bring it to his hometown.
“I noticed that where we were playing indoor out of town, a lot of teams were from Hobbs going to these other places to play indoor,” he said. “So, I was like, ‘Man if we had something like this in Hobbs, I think that it could, number one, benefit the community as something that’s here, but (also) there (would be) enough interest in it that it could work.’ That’s what really made me want to do it. I wanted to have it in our community.”
And for nearly four years, he held onto that idea before he was finally able to make it happen.
See, the biggest problem was space. Henderson couldn’t find one that was both affordable and big enough to support indoor soccer games. So in the meantime, he just saved up his money until he found an opportunity to really get this thing rolling.
And about six months ago, that opportunity came.
Driving by the Crazy Skating rink one day with his girlfriend and her son, he noticed that the parking lot was mostly empty and it seemed like a space that wasn’t being used to its full potential. He got to talking with the administrator of the rink, and worked out a deal: the rink would use its space on the weekends for its business, and Henderson could set up shop Sunday-Thursday.
For now, that means Henderson will just be running the league in the space. Men and women have responded well to the local league, signing up plenty of teams to compete.
Teams with children in the U8-U16 leagues haven’t been so plentiful with outside soccer starting up now, but Henderson expects more to as the six week season goes on. And if not now, there will be another six-week season almost right after the other one ends, giving the facility year-round league play.
Outside of the leagues, Henderson is planning on also starting up camps sometime in October or November so the facility can be used during typical business.
Once each and every week wraps up, he’ll pack up the turf and the walls to make sure the rink has its space for the weekend. It takes him almost a whole day to do it. But while it is hard work, Henderson is just pleased to have brought this to the community.
“It is definitely hard work,” he said. “It’s a ton of work. But I really felt like this was something good for Hobbs and I really wanted it here. So I was willing to do whatever I had to do, or whatever I have to do, for people to be able to play indoor (here).”