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Feature: Urban Futbol

*This is the fourth article in a series of features discussing soccer fields and facilities in Edmonton*

Elaine and Greg Smith saw there was a clear problem during the indoor soccer season and decided to take matters into their own hands by opening up a new training facility called Urban Futbol.

Urban Futbol is an indoor turf-based soccer facility located on the South side of the city. Doors opened to the community in November of 2017 and the facility is being used by several minor and adult teams across the city.

The Smiths are a true soccer family. Their son, James, plays with Edmonton Scottish in the Edmonton Interdistrict Youth Soccer Association (EIYSA), while their daughter, Rachel, plays for the Southwest Sting in the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA). Elaine and Greg both play in adult soccer leagues.

During indoor season, the Smiths quickly realized there was an issue with the quality and availability of indoor facilities.

“There wasn’t an abundance of turf-surfaced places to play on and the facilities that had turf were rarely available,” says Elaine, President of Urban Futbol. “At the time we were driving every week to St. Albert and we thought it was crazy that there weren’t more spaces in the city.”

When the economic downturn hit, they saw an opportunity to create something special to help grow the sport of soccer in Edmonton. Their goal was to create something that would benefit everyone in the soccer community and help alleviate some of the challenges that occur during indoor season.

“The downturn in the economy created a bit of an abundance in warehouse space,” adds Elaine Smith. “I got a buyout in my job because my position got eliminated, so the stars aligned for us.”

“We thought it would be nice to find a space that was a good enough size to practice, but not so big that it becomes prohibitive to teams. This is a great size of space for coaches who know how to use it for kids to practice on.”

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Urban Futbol is providing teams with the opportunity to train on a turf facility during the week at an affordable price, instead of a hard-floored gymnasium. Coaches are able to create more realistic training session while players find it easier to replicate what they do in training onto the pitch during a real match.

“We had one team train here through the indoor season and the coach told us that since they started training here, they hadn’t lost a game,” says Smith. “He thinks it’s because it’s easier for the players to translate what they were doing on our field onto the field for game days.”

“He said in the gym, spatially, it was harder for the kids to mentally take practice into a real game scenario, so I think the feedback has been generally positive.”

Elaine, like many others, didn’t play soccer growing up, but picked it up when she got older. She added that Urban Futbol is also for adults who want to start playing soccer despite not playing as a child. Adult teams who want a place to train without having to set up a regimented training schedule can easily do so.

“Adults usually pick up the late night slots,” says Smith. “We do some adult soccer training and adult drop-in games as well.”

“We’ve got groups that get a few buddies together and book the field and play for an hour, which is good too and we also host events like birthday parties.”

For more information about Urban Futbol, please visit their website.


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