Steamboat Soccer Club puts down roots in charter school gym
January 5, 2017
Steamboat Springs — Rob Bohlmann has seen the ideas come and go.
There was potential in 2007 for a recreational facility to include room for Bohlmann's Steamboat Soccer Club to workout, but that plan went down in flames with nearly 80 percent of a city-wide vote.
There have been big plans and small in the years since, but they've all met the same end. A proposed fieldhouse at Steamboat Springs Middle School didn't quite come together in 2014, and another idea suggested for Bear River Park didn't come to fruition, either.
Monday, however, something finally worked out.
The Steamboat Soccer Club signed a deal to lease the gymnasium at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School west of Steamboat Springs. It purchased a large amount of temporary padded artificial turf to lay down on the gym floor.
Now soccer players have been booting the ball on grass — or the closest thing they'll get to grass until spring — all week.
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"It's a first huge step in the right direction for our soccer club," Bohlmann said. "We will be able to have the first legit indoor training facility now. It's a really cool thing, and groups will see the huge value of this, and hopefully, it can lead to bigger and better things down the road."
Soccer players — both one-sport athletes and multi-sport players — have previously spent their winter months vying for time in Steamboat Springs' crowded gymnasiums, taking turns with every other court and field sport.
Bohlmann said the soccer's winter efforts have steadily expanded during the last six years, from a few dozen participants to now more than a 100 each in the club's winter skills program and youth 5-on-5 indoor league. That league alone has swollen to 160 players, and finding places for them all to play hasn't been easy.
"It's always about trying to find slots at middle school or at the elementary schools. Last year, we went up and got some time at Steamboat Mountain School," Bohlmann said. "The demand for gym space for whatever sport — lacrosse, basketball, soccer — there's a lot of demand, and it's difficult to get in. With this facility, it really kind of channels soccer and the field-specific sports like lacrosse or maybe baseball, and it opens up other opportunities elsewhere."
The turf comes from a Texas-based company. On the bottom, it looks like a wrestling or cheerleading mat. On the top, it looks like the all-weather turf at Gardner Field outside Steamboat Springs High School.
The high school got some of the turf itself last spring and used it in the Carl Ramunno Gymnasium to gain extra practice time for spring sports. That was paid for by the school's booster club and wasn't available to the entirety of the soccer club and other youth sports.
It also left a lasting impression on those who used it.
The deal for the Montessori school's gym was worked out with the school, building owner Ty Lockhart and the soccer club, and the club will lead the way in doling out time to its programs and to other sports.
"We're overseeing the schedule but certainly it's going to be open to other sports like youth lacrosse," Bohlmann said.
The turf will come up when the snow melts, but for once, Bohlmann will know that when it does start to snow again, his athletes will have a place to go.