The Cortez Middle School parking lot can fill up fast on Monday and Wednesday evenings in the winter.
Not for basketball or wrestling – but soccer.
Although it’s not technically in season, area youths gather at CMS to play indoor soccer.
Sponsored and insured by the Tri-City Soccer Association, U-10 and U-14 Tri-City registered players meet in the axillary gym for games while area high school students, sponsored and insured by the district, congregate in the main gym.
“It’s just something that’s been growing and growing over the years with the younger kids,” said indoor soccer sponsor and M-CHS girls head coach Nate Ross. “We’re just trying to keep soccer going through the winter.”
“I’ve been working with the district here at the middle school for at least seven or eight years,” he continued. “And I really do want to make an emphasis that the district has been outstanding, being able to work in using the facility and the ease that they make it to get this space and have it under the insurance.”
Ross said there are from 18-30 kids that meet for each session to play from 6:30-8:30 p.m., beginning in November and running through February 26.
And usually, he and fellow coaches Juan Soto and Andrew Cuckie join in.
“All the coaches that come out and help are really enthusiastic and keep it exciting for the kids,” he said. “And a lot of time us coaches will go out there and play a little bit to have fun as well.”
Although he is the head coach of the high school girls soccer program, Ross insisted that the winter indoor season is all about having fun and staying active.
There are no drills and nothing is mandatory.
Instead, Ross believes that just keeping kids playing soccer and getting them excited about the game will help grow and improve the high school programs.
“With the limited number of kids that we have playing soccer, as opposed to the bigger programs like football and volleyball, it’s important to have options for these kids,” he explained. “To make sure that winter is not just something that they sit on the couch all winter.
“It’s always been a goal of mine and other coaches through the years that we’re at least giving at option for these kids to be playing for eight to nine months out of the year,” he continued. “And winter is really a great time for these kids to stay involved.”
The indoor soccer league schedule coincides with the district calendar, so they won’t meet again until after the holiday break.
But when they do start back up on Wednesday, Jan. 4, Ross said that registered U-10 and U-14 Tri-City players and any area high school students are welcome to join.