Jaymes Barlos, Lenny Peterson and Shaun Noggle grew up playing soccer in the Spokane area. Between them they played for Central Valley and West Valley high schools, Spokane Community Colleges and Whitworth University, as well as numerous youth soccer clubs where they built their friendships along with their skills.
“We were always crossing paths playing against or with each other. … Soccer really turned into a friendship type of deal,” Barlos said. After college they scattered from Florida to Hawaii but maintained their friendships and connection to Spokane soccer, often talking about opening a soccer facility someday.
“We kept our ear to the Spokane soccer community, listening for things,” Barlos said. “Doing something for Spokane in terms of soccer was one of our biggest goals.”
This winter, the trio teamed up with St. George’s School soccer coach Heidi Melville to open Valley Indoor Center, a nonprofit soccer facility in the former Itron warehouse in the Spokane Industrial Park. They took over the assets previously owned by It’s A Soccer Life, which closed after less than a year in business at the same location.
“We had talked about this for years and years. We want to give back to the community we grew up in. It’s not about making money,” said Peterson, operations manager.
As a first-generation college graduate who grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money, Peterson said he understands the need for affordable soccer options.
“This is about the kids and parents, for kids to play at an affordable price,” he said.
VIC charges youth teams $350 for six games.
In addition to youth and adult soccer leagues, the center offers futsal, adult pickup games, a Little Kicks program and field rental to other soccer organizations.
Barlos said they’ve also created relationships with numerous youth soccer clubs, including Spokane Breakers, Spokane Foxes and Pumas, Xifa, Spokane Shadow, Idaho Thunder and Coeur d’Alene Sting.
Peterson said they hope to partner with other organizations. Valley Youth Soccer, for example, now has office space there and Elite Sports Skills is running futsal and sport conditioning camps.
And it isn’t just soccer. The group also hopes to turn the center into a family-fun destination, with an emphasis on fitness.
Toward that goal, Talache Wellness, a new health and fitness business in Spokane Valley, is offering prenatal, yogalates and High Intensity Interval Training classes on the futsal court. The new fitness business is offering free Saturday bootcamps at 11 a.m. today, Feb. 15 and March 1.
“We’re trying to expand the amount of activities and things we can offer. Not everybody does soccer, unfortunately,” Barlos said. “Parents that don’t want to play soccer might come and be involved in a fitness program. We’ll try to make the indoor center a family fun environment.”
It’s a concept Barlos said is partially patterned after the South Hill indoor soccer facility where they cemented their friendships as youths.
“Back then it was the only game in town. It was a converted roller rink. It wasn’t really designed for soccer,” recalled Barlos, adding that the South Hill facility also offered other activities like archery and art classes. “We loved the family environment. We hope we can give kids something similar to that.”
They’re exploring other options and organizational relationships that can help meet that mission of affordable, family-friendly fun.
“Our goal is to find as many activities as we can,” Barlos said. “We want to do family type events. Eventually, the entire place should have that feel of a fun center.”