If you're a soccer fan and find yourself at midnight with nothing to do, you might want to consider swinging by Mystic Indoor Sports to take in the intense match happening on the facility’s indoor turf field.
“We have soccer players that work in the restaurant business and they get out of their restaurants at 11 and play here until one in the morning,” explained Elizabeth Albrikes, the manager at Mystic Indoor Sports. “They make soccer teams among themselves, and this happens almost every night.”
The facility’s turf field measures 26,000 square feet and is framed with a collection of seats culled from the nation’s premier stadiums. During the afternoon hours, the field is occupied by a rotating number of local schools whose student athletes practice a seemingly endless variety of sports.
“They’re coming out of the woodwork right now because we’re going into our busy season of being too cold to play outside,” Albrikes added, noting that the facility has two batting cages to accommodate baseball players and nets that can divide the massive field into thirds so rival squads of soccer, field hockey, volleyball and lacrosse players can get their practices completed without getting into (pardon the obvious) turf wars over the field.
Also on the grounds is a half-court basketball court and four professional tennis courts – and the latter section is where one can usually find Albrikes’ husband, Jerry Albrikes, the managing partner and director of tennis for Mystic Indoor Sports. For Jerry, being on these courts is a welcome homecoming.
“Beth and I ran the Mystic Indoor Tennis Club from 2000 to 2010, then we went to Charleston, South Carolina, to run a club down there from 2010 to 2017,” he said. “We did some consulting with Matt McCormack, the owner here. He bought the club [in 2014], tore down the house that used to be here and the bubble – there used to be two tennis courts here – and created an all-new enterprise.”
The indoor sports setting is distinctive, especially for tennis enthusiasts. Some arrive as early as six in the morning to get a court. “There are few other indoor facilities that have tennis,” observed Jerry. “If you’re interested in tennis, you have to either come here or go to Pond View in Westerly or Lyme Shores in East Lyme.”
For Elizabeth, the onset of cold weather and the plethora of sporting possibilities has kept the Mystic Indoor Sports telephone ringing. “We’re flying right now,” she said. “We’ll get 10 calls a day from all over and we want to get all of them in.”
And no sport is too esoteric for consideration. “We've hosted cricket here,” Jerry added. “Some players from Mohegan Sun on a rainy Sunday had a tournament scheduled but it got canceled. They were here all day.”
For Elizabeth, the big surprise has been the Thursday night tournaments involving warring teams playing cornhole, where players take turns throwing beanbags at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. “I have maybe 15 men in our league,” she said, adding that women are more than welcome to join.
Adjacent to the sporting venue is Silver Oak Mystic, which opened in 2016 and has quickly become a popular setting for weddings, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and corporate events.
Inspired by the laid-back vibe of California’s Napa Valley, Silver Oak Mystic features a working fireplace surrounded by hand-built 20-foot stonework, and much of the woodwork within the interior was taken from an 18th century farmhouse that once stood at the site.
(Alas, the farmhouse building itself had deteriorated too much by the time Matt McCormack purchased the property, and could not be saved.)
The Albrikeses noted that Silver Oak Mystic has been a great feeder into Mystic Indoor Sports, and vice versa. “Birthday parties here are helping,” said Jerry. “People who have a good experience will come back for other activities. One family might do three different events here.”
“When you get kids doing back-to-back birthdays here, in between the schools coming to practice, they’re all happy,” added Elizabeth. “And I just scheduled a wedding where the groom is a soccer player, so we’re going to hold the wedding at Silver Oak, and all of their groomsmen will be playing soccer on the indoor field after the reception.”
But Elizabeth noted that despite the flurry of activity, there are still lulls in the day that she would like to see filled. “Our issue is that we need to keep the big field busy during the early morning,” sheexplained. “I’m now interviewing personal trainers, yoga instructors, Silver Sneakers, anyone and anything who might be able to utilize our facility during the day, especially in the mornings. I want to bring in the senior population – there are so many who are fit. We could have them walk the turf here instead of going out to walk in a mall.”
For Jerry, getting more activity during the summer months is the next priority. “We are going to do a summer camp, an all-purpose sports camp, which we think is going to be really big,” he said. “Sometimes kids don’t want to be in the heat or the sun, or it’s a rainy day, and our systems don’t shut down – we have access to the same sports you’re getting outside, but in a protected environment, in a cooler area with a fan and the doors open. It’s not stuffy. We really expect to knock it out of the park with our instructors.”
Mystic Indoor Sports is located at 90 Welles Road, Mystic, call 860-245-5898 or visit www.mysticindoorsports.com; For more information on Silver Oak Mystic, 90 Welles Road, Mystic, call 860-415-1212, or visit www.silveroakmystic.com