'Five-a-side' indoor soccer facility opens in Columbia

Soccer players in Howard County have a new place to play.

Sofive Soccer Centers, a 50,000 square-foot indoor facility that offers “five-a-side” soccer, opened in Columbia Gateway in May.

Sofive co-founder Charles Lagayette is “excited” to have Sofive’s fifth facility in Columbia.

“We thought there was a vibrant community in Columbia to have indoor soccer fields,” said Lagayette. “We’re very proud that we’re in Maryland now. Maryland has been a traditional hotbed for the soccer community.”

Sofive’s other locations are Meadowlands, New Jersey, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York and Rockville, Maryland. The location in Rockville opened in 2018, and Lagayette said the success there led to the opening of the Columbia facility.

“For Sofive, we want to help the game grow in the United States, so it’s logical to be present in Maryland,” he said. “We also feel that there’s a lot of passion for soccer here. We felt that since we were successful in Rockville that we expect to be as successful in Columbia.”

The facility has eight turf fields that offer the European-style “five-a-side” soccer, which is an abbreviated version of the sport played on a smaller pitch. The facility also features cameras for players to watch replays of their games or practices, locker rooms, a bar/cafe and a lounge area with televisions. Sofive has soccer leagues and offers rentals for teams, birthdays and other events.

“Sofive is a new generation of soccer complexes,” Lagayette said. “The model is a typical complex, which is for kids, clubs and youth organizations. But it’s also for young professionals who want to play after work with friends or coworkers.”

Sofive offers open play at night on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Juan Turcios, 32, of Laurel was intrigued with the smaller field sizes when he played on Wednesday.

“It’s different, but I like it,” Turcios said. “It’s soccer, so it doesn’t matter to me what the size of the field is.”

Turcios was playing in Rockville, but now that Sofive has opened, he said he’s happy to have a facility closer to home.

“It’s close, which is nice. It’s way better than what I was doing,” Turcios said. “I was working in Rockville, driving home and then going back at night to play. All my friends are in Montgomery County. I’m trying to meet new people and play soccer closer to home.”

Lagayette and fellow co-founder Jean-Damien Ladeuil were working in investment and consulting, respectively, in France before launching the company in New Jersey in 2015.

“We were still in love with the game,” Lagayette said. “We saw that there was a growth of the game in the U.S., and we thought we could build amazing complexes here.”

Sofive, located at 7125 Columbia Gateway Drive, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends. To book a field or join one of Sofive’s leagues, visit www.sofive.com or call 410-505-0595.

“We’ve been growing the company since day one,” Lagayette said. “Our ambition is to keep growing in the U.S. We want to build around our complexes a true community of soccer fans and be there for any person who loves soccer.”

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at jameyer@baltsun.com or on Twitter @jcalvinmeyer

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