ALBANY PARK — What do you do when your hobby becomes too expensive? Make it your job to do what you love. That’s what two soccer players are doing after getting tired of paying to play elsewhere.
Eduardo Gonzalez and Carlos Cisneros aim to open Deportiva de Futbol, an indoor soccer facility, at Lawrence Avenue and Whipple Street in February, pending a business license hearing later this month.
“We’re in the process of getting the permit,” said Noemi Trevino, Gonzalez’s wife. “A lot of people have come by to check it out.”
The three have been working hard to renovate the space at 3040 W. Lawrence Ave. They signed the lease for the space in August, and renovations began in October. Projects included raising the ceiling, emptying out the space and clearing lots of dust.
“My husband had to get up on a ladder with three guys helping him,” Trevino said of the ceiling raising.
A soccer field could be a natural fit for Albany Park, a neighborhood already home to some soccer gear and clothing stores.
“Soccer is a very huge thing in Chicago,” said Gonzalez, 32, who, with his wife, run a cleaning service. “I want to get the kids off the street and have something to look forward to.”
Keeping fees affordable is important to the owners. There are a couple of other indoor facilities on the Northwest Side but rates can be as high as $300 per hour, they say.
“They are huge and beautiful, but we understand people won’t be able to spend that,” said Trevino.
The owners of Deportiva de Futbol haven't yet determined fees but “we want to charge the minimum,” said Trevino.
The field, with artificial turf, is intended for pick-up games and about the size of a basketball court. There will be a concessions area and covered, indoor parking will be available in the back of the building Changing rooms are upstairs with restrooms; the owners are considering converting another upstairs area into a children’s playroom.
“It would be nice to have a place for kids,” said Trevino, noting the she and Gonzalez have four kids of their own.
Others in the area are pleased with the field’s impending opening: “We are very excited to have them in the ward,” said Erica Lamanto, aldermanic assistant to Ald. Deb Mell (33rd.)
“We needed an access alley and [Mell's] office gave us approval. This is the first time we’ve ever tried to do anything like this,” said Trevino.
Neighborhood activist Amy Kozy stopped by the field recently to scope it out on behalf of the West River Park Neighbors.
“I’m looking forward to them fixing up the facade, and I hope they will be a positive presence in the neighborhood,” said Kozy.
"We have a lot of plans," said Cisneros, 49, the father of two sons, ages 7 and 8. "It's good to be able to offer this space to the community."
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