Starfinder Youth Facility Hot Spot for Lunch-time Soccer

This Main Street indoor soccer center offers twice-weekly pickup games.

Some folks read books or grab a bite during lunchtime on Main Street. For 14 or so soccer players, they take the indoor pitch at the for an afternoon pickup game.

An afterschool program, Starfinder serves 500, 6-to 18-year-olds annually through its youth soccer program. On Tuesday and Thursday, soccer players of varying ages and backgrounds meet at the tucked-away facility down the block from Shurs Lane for a game that benefits the program.

"It's a symbiotic relationship, because there's nobody using the field (during the day). We're here, and we're giving them money," organizer Jeremy Brodovsky said. "The great thing about this is that it's not a bunch of kids. Everyone's respectful of the facilities, and we're happy to have them."

The game costs $5 a person and is a pay-as-you-play rate—no memberships or long-term agreements.

Formed in 2010, the game is comprised of mostly upper 20s to middle-aged men. Brodovsky, who works at Aquatic Fitness Center in Bala Cywnyd, said the game took off when employees at Oracle on City Avenue talked it up and got more action.

"It's slowly and organically grown over the last 12, 18 months... I approached Starfinder and they agreed, and we've been having a fun pickup thing for people of all ages and backgrounds," he said.

Brian Lascarro, 40, has played since the inception. He heard of the game through the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club and travels from Center City to play.

"It's the middle of the afternoon, you hang out for a couple of hours, get some exercise in," he said. "The competition is good—not too crazy. I think everyone understands it's just a pickup game. No one is getting paid here."

Like the game of soccer itself, there is an eclectic roster of players. Men from their 20s to 60s are represented, as our those with Asian, European and American backgrounds.

A local boy, Ryan Gill, 22, grew up in the area and played high school at Roman Catholic. Gill currently attends Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell. Though aware of Starfinder through his little brother's involvement, but he didn't know about the adult game in his backyard.

"I never knew this was open for people to come and play, so it's great for lunch time," he said.

For more information, visit the pickup page on Starfinder's website. People may contact Nick Chrisanthon at nicholas@starfinderfoundation.org or 215-435-1383 to be added to the email distribution list.


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