Rinks are for skating, right? Not at all. Glendale's new indoor soccer rink debuted to excited young soccer players Saturday morning during a grand-opening event that saw the months-long efforts of many community members and officials fulfilled.
Plans for an indoor soccer rink in the upper level of the Glendale Civic Auditorium were unanimously approved by the City Council in February following requests from locals who have driven many miles to gain playing time on soccer fields.
Glendale has three soccer fields that accommodate more than 4,000 youth soccer players and 30 leagues, according to city officials. And now it also has the rink.
Art Yesayan, whose eight-year-old son played for the Far West United team on Saturday, was excited to have the rink open in his own backyard, having driven to East Los Angeles, Lancaster and Palmdale for games.
"I think it's a great thing for the kids," he said. "The community needs to come and play."
Jack Iskanian of Glendale, who has directed the Ishtoyan Soccer Academy for the past six years, was grateful to have seen the debut of the rink on Saturday, about seven months after he began to discuss the idea with city officials.
"We came together and talked about indoor soccer," he said. "Indoor soccer was missing in Glendale."
The Glendale Civic Auditorium seemed the perfect fit because it is hardly used during weekdays. There, the rink will remain up Monday through Thursday, and on the weekends when the space is available.
By next June, officials estimate the rink will generate about $100,000 from rental fees. The cost to use the space is $75 per hour.
Although he saw his goal realized, Iskanian said his academy has continued to grow as the popularity of soccer increases, and he would not stop working for more field space in the city.
"Still, the need is there. This is not enough. There are a lot of organizations looking for soccer fields in Glendale," he said.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.