Salesh (Sal) Narayan, left, and Rigg Kumar are operators of the new Upland Sports Centre in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Salesh (Sal) Narayan, left, and Rigg Kumar are operators of the new Upland Sports Centre in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

New indoor soccer turf in Surrey attracts kids, adults who don’t want to play outside

Synthetic turf field now installed at Upland Sports Centre in Newton

The turf is in at a new indoor soccer facility in Surrey, and the door will open soon.

Upland Sports Centre (uscsurrey.com) is located in a business park on Upland Road in the southeast corner of Newton, near the corner of 64th Avenue and 148th Street.

Business partners/cousins Rigg Kumar and Salesh (Sal) Narayan saw a need for soccer to be played in an indoor space in Surrey.

“We’ve been preparing this for about three years, working with the building owners, the city, getting all the permits and now we’re almost there, which is exciting,” Kumar told the Now-Leader.

“What we found is that the majority of kids here are playing outside, and we know that a lot of them just don’t play in the winter, just because of the weather,” Narayan added. “I’m originally from Edmonton, where in the winter you just do play indoors, so we came with an idea and saw a need for it here. Some of the programs have gone indoors, especially for younger kids, but they’d go into gyms, and this is more soccer-specific with the turf.”

Built in a beamless unit they’ve leased, their 8,000-square-foot facility includes a synthetic turf field, multipurpose studio, meeting room and training equipment.

In recent months, the project to build the sports centre has been documented on instagram.com/uplandsportscentre.

(Story continues below)

Kumar and Narayan are working with longtime friend Paul Bahia, who operates BEST, or Bahia Expert Soccer Training, to create leagues and training programs at Upland.

“I’m helping with the operation as a consultant for programming,” Bahia noted. “It’s not open yet because we’re waiting for tenancy permits, and we had some groups in there but nothing for the public yet. We’re getting a lot of calls, a lot of interest in it.”

Kumar said the final permits are in the works.

“Hopefully we can get going in here soon, but even if it’s by October that’d be nice, when the weather starts to get worse,” he said. “We’ll be doing mostly pod-based training to start, with all the COVID rules and safety protocols. I don’t see leagues starting up just yet, that’s down the road a bit.”

They’re entered into a partnership with Moving Forward Family Services (MFFS), a mentorship agency that provides counselling and social work practice opportunities to interns and new graduates entering private practice.

“There are a lot of potential uses for the space,” Narayan said. “We’ve done some tours and people like it, they’ve seen the space. We’re going through all that right now, for bookings. We’ve also talked to people with other sports too, like flag football and also some personal trainers who are interested in this space. We can do things like birthday parties too.”

In 2019, Coastal FC soccer association opened the BMO Coastal Soccer Centre, an indoor pitch located in the northeast corner of South Surrey Athletic Park. The $5-million project was fully funded by Coastal FC on land leased to the club by the City of Surrey.

“Ours isn’t as large as Coastal’s, but it’s the same idea,” Kumar said. “The kids today are getting more particular, so they tell their parents, ‘Hey, it’s cold, it’s raining, I don’t want to play outside.’ But back in the day we just used to play (outside) because we didn’t have an option. There are some more of these indoor places opening now because of that.

“Some of the micro programs, the younger kids, they’ll play (games) in here and the older kids, it’s more for training, but we do have the adult leagues too, depending on COVID and how that works out,” Kumar added. “But if not, at first we’ll just do rentals for pod training and more academy-based programs.”

• RELATED STORY, from Nov. 2019: Coastal FC Walking Soccer program takes first steps.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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