***image1***The extramural indoor soccer league started Monday at Sembach and has 26 teams vying for first place.
“Being in Europe, soccer is a lot more popular here,” said Scott Bishaw, Sembach Fitness Center director.
The league has been running for more than 10 years and gets plenty of participation, giving avid soccer players an opportunity to play in the off-season.
“The league is a great way to stay in shape and it gets a lot of people involved,” said Mr. Bishaw.
But the indoor soccer isn’t exactly the same game that the FC Kaiserslautern professionals play.
The extramural indoor rules are different from official outdoor rules. Five players, including a goalie, play in two, 20-minute halves and defend smaller goals. There are no throw-ins when the ball goes out of bounds. And unlike regulation indoor soccer, there are no walls to bounce passes off and the floor is wood instead of turf.
“It’s a much faster paced game,” said Tommy Van, a player on the 735CS team. “It’s a smaller court and the ball just skips along. You have to score early and any turnover can be dangerous.”
The league is open to active-duty military, Department of Defense civilians and dependants, 18 and up, in the KMC area. The 26 teams are made of squadrons or units, but individual players can enter a player pool and can be picked up on a team later.
There are three divisions – the Budesliga, the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A – that play Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Sembach Fitness Center’s basketball court.
The season runs through the first week of April when the top three teams in each division will enter a double elimination tournament. Last year the 435LRS team won the league championship.