YORKVILLE — Asphalt Green has replaced its basketball court with an indoor soccer field based on increased interest in the Beautiful Game.
The court at the Murphy Center, with FieldTurf and a 8-foot high, half-inch thick, tempered-glass barrier that is typically used for hockey rinks, was replaced in September, according to Asphalt Green officials.
The indoor basketball court had been in use since 1984 when the East 90th Street facility first opened. But it's clear that in recent years, soccer has replaced basketball as the No. 1 sport at Asphalt Green, according to its enrollment numbers.
From 2012 to 2014, the number of people enrolled with the facility's soccer leagues and teams increased more than 36 percent to roughly 1,000 people, according to Zac Roy, a spokesman for Asphalt Green.
"I think it's always been a youth sport but it's now being recognized on a global level, which is what is driving interest," said Paul Culff, Asphalt Green's director of sports.
He added that interest typically grows around big soccer games, like when the U.S. Women's National Soccer team took home the World Cup in July.
He said that girls now make up roughly 40 percent of Asphalt Green's soccer players.
To celebrate the new indoor field's opening on Sept. 10, Asphalt Green held a "First-Kick" event for kids enrolled in its soccer program.
Although it has officially opened for use, new lights and a new coat of paint will be added to the indoor field in a few weeks' time, according to Maggy Siegel, executive director of Asphalt Green.
"It has been a dream of ours for a while to add to our soccer program," Siegel said.
"The field allows us to offer even more first-class sports and fitness programming throughout the year, further establishing Asphalt Green as the city’s preeminent venue for youth and adult athletes, whether they want to learn a sport, compete at the highest levels or just get fit and have fun."
The indoor soccer field will also be used for classes in flag football and field sports as well as for training in speed and agility. School groups and other organizations will also be able to rent the field, according to Roy.
The facility still has outdoor basketball courts but, when it needs indoor space, it will use Convent of the Sacred Heart's gym on East 91st Street, just a block away, Roy said.