Waco Indoor Sports Center, the newest community sports center in town, is a spacious and weatherproof venue designed for indoor field sports and it’s already a favored destination for many area youth and adult soccer leagues.

The center is located right off Interstate 35 at 8043 Robinson Industrial Park Drive in the Robinson industrial area, next door to Heart of Texas Cheer & Dance. In January 2014, the center debuted with a pole vaulting tournament hosted by Zero G Elite Pole Vaulting Club and by month’s end, had six teams on its adult coed soccer league roster.

A group of local partners backed the project after realizing the community’s need for a year-round, weatherproof sports center. Among them are David and Christie Harper, who purchased the center in July. The idea of an indoor sports center was particularly appealing to David Harper, who grew up in Plano and was accustomed to playing league soccer at the many indoor sports facilities in the Dallas area.

The couple also liked the idea of having a business that’s kid-friendly for their own children. They have two girls, Haylee, 8, and Rylee, 4.

David Harper had coached the boys varsity soccer team at China Spring High School for nine years.

“Since the beginning, there’s been a great group of partners backing this project,” he said. “They saw the potential in our market and love the idea of playing sports all year round. Plus, it’s something brand-new to our community, something that has never been done before.

“Putting the center together over the past year has been a lot of hard work. Fortunately, many of our teams and players have volunteered their time and pitched in to help. We really appreciate their support.”

The Waco Indoor Sports Center currently offers year-round soccer, volleyball, flag football and dodgeball. Select and club teams in both youth and adult leagues rent the facility for practice, tournaments and special events.

The 36,000-square-foot structure features a full-size turf field with markings and field turf for football, dodgeball and soccer, goals with interchangeable functions, and sturdy tempered-glass shields surrounding the field.

There is also a full-size sport court for volleyball and basketball. So far, the center has had four sessions of youth soccer camp and one volleyball camp, as well as an indoor referee clinic and a camp for the Waco Wolf Pack amateur flag football league. Volleyball play on Sunday afternoons has been popular lately, David Harper said.

The center is able to host large parties and events. Seating inside the facility includes 50 tables with chairs, plus bleachers for spectators. The center can be rented for birthday parties and has hosted a fraternity/sorority mixer, plus the Baylor University men’s club soccer alumni game.

By September, the center had doubled each of its leagues’ rosters and now hosts active leagues four out of the seven nights.

“We’re looking to add three more leagues very soon and have limited space blocked off on Saturdays and Sundays for birthday parties,” Harper said.

There’s another 8,000 to 10,000 square feet available for additional sports,” he said. He is planning to install batting cages for baseball and softball in the near future.

He attributed much of the center’s success to area residents’ need for a local weatherproof sports facility for both adult and youth activities.

Kids can play sports no matter the time of year and it’s ideal for parents who want to watch their kids play, but don’t have to be outside in the cold or hot weather, he said.

He added that local volleyball club teams like using the facility in order to have a consistent, familiar home base for both parents and players so they don’t have to keep switching from one area gym to another. Soon the center will add a new format of youth flag football, Coerver soccer training camps, and youth soccer leagues with tournament play.

The Harpers will hold All Star Sports Camps during school breaks (starting with the 2015 spring break) and summer, which they expect to be popular for parents who work full time. Also in the works is the Lil’ Bears Program, an open-play sports program designed for stay-at-home moms and home-schooled children. The Harpers plan to organize corporate and church soccer leagues for adults as well.

“The kids love playing on the indoor field turf — that’s something new for many of them,” he said. “Adults and parents also appreciate the climate-controlled environment, convenient location, and ability to hold tournaments here in town without weather-related cancellations or having to travel to Dallas, Austin or Temple,” he said. “Our center provides a way for everyone to stay active and involved with sports programs throughout the year.”

Waco Indoor Sports Center

Where: 8043 Robinson Industrial Park Drive.

Directions: From Interstate 35 northbound at the intersection with Sun Valley Boulevard, take the first right toward Greig Drive West, then continue on Greig Drive and turn right onto Robinson Industrial Park Drive. The center is on the left.

Phone: 662-9985.

Online: wacoindoorsports.com. Registration for activities is available online.

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