EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Focus

April 22, 2008

Focus: Indoor facilities offer everything from basketball to 40-foot climbing walls

The SportsZone in Derry, N.H., is a buzz of activity. Its six basketball courts are packed with 12 teams — about 100 people, from high schoolers to men and women in their 40s.

"You should see the men's soccer league," said Dennis Reed, owner of SportsZone. "We have 72 teams now."

More and more across New England, athletes and local teams are flocking to multipurpose indoor facilities where they can play, and practice their skills year round. In fact, the SportsZone offers so many different types of recreation that they barely fit on Reed's business card.

SportsZone offers clinics and camps and leagues in sports like soccer, basketball, baseball and softball. Then there are batting and pitching cages, and Vertimax Jump training. There is even a 40-foot climbing wall.

The PhanZone in Hampstead, N.H., home of the New Hampshire Phantoms semi-pro soccer team, has three indoor soccer fields, all FieldTurf. In addition, the facility maintains an area for gymnastics training and offers clinics and lessons. It also houses soccer clinics, a dance school and a gym staffed with athletic trainers.

The PhanZone runs soccer leagues for all age groups and skill levels, from its Little Booters program for children 18 months and older to men's and women's over-40 leagues. The women's over-30 league has more than 100 players.

Some facilities, like Granite Fields in Kingston, N.H. have branched out into even larger endeavors.

"The facility used to just have soccer, indoor fields and some outdoor ones," said Mike Schena, Director of Golf at Granite Fields. "But five years ago, they took the outdoor fields out due to a lack of use and installed a beautiful 18-hole golf course."

The course is open to the public, but also accepts memberships for players who want to play more regularly. There is also league play on the course in the afternoons.

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