Indoor soccer is played at the professional level, and millions of Americans play it recreationally, but there isn’t much organization at the club level or scholastically.
One unique exception is the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland varsity indoor soccer league. The all-girls league of Maryland private schools is now in its 21st year, despite the fact that it may be the only league of its kind in the state.
Thirty-one schools belong to IAAM and, for the current season, nine schools are participating in the indoor league.
Most of the games are played at Coppermine Du Burns Arena, where the Baltimore Blast once practiced and housed their offices.
Nick Gill has been one of the most successful coaches in league history. His Mercy High School team finished the regular season in first place with an 8-0 record as they look to finish off a three-peat in the upcoming playoffs. In addition to his two titles at Mercy, Gill previously won two championships with Friends School in 2011-12 and 2013-14. Gill’s wife Joie has won two B Conference championships of her own at St. Paul’s School.
“There is a massive difference going from outdoor to indoor,” Nick Gill said. “Quick shifts are key if you have the players to do it. We run three lines on the Mercy team I am coaching now, each shift usually between 2-4 minutes. The tactics of the game are very different as well. The way we attack and defend in indoor is very different to how we would attack and defend in outdoor. Sometimes it takes a while for seasoned outdoor players to pick up the indoor game. Especially the tactics around attacking, defending, and understanding how and when to use the walls.”
In the A Conference, many of the players also play for their school’s varsity outdoor team. “Most teams in the A Conference have a lot of their outdoor players playing indoor,” said Gill. “Some of the players from the outdoor teams play basketball or run track in the winter but most of the A Conference teams in the indoor soccer league have many of their outdoor players playing indoor.”
Friends School opted to drop down to the B Conference this year, but are having a great season under first year coach Nabil Odulate. Odulate’s team has only three juniors and no seniors, but they finished the regular season 9-0 and allowed only four goals while scoring 69 times.
“This is considered varsity, but I agree that our current squad makeup is atypical,” said Odulate. “I think it is primarily due to many students choosing the winter as their off-season for sports, especially with the increased academic and college related demands on juniors and seniors.”
Also working against scholastic indoor soccer is a lack of available facilities. “I think the primary reasons most schools don’t participate is both numbers and space,” Odulate says. “As I mentioned earlier, many students see the winter as an opportunity to take the season off. Some choose to play basketball instead of a second season of high school soccer to change things up. Additionally, I do not know of any schools that have dedicated indoor facilities, and thus have to rent practice time at outside locations, an extra obstacle.”
Still, despite all that, the IAAM Indoor Soccer League keeps chugging on into its third decade. The 2019-20 regular season concluded on January 29 and the championships for both conferences are set for February 8 at Coppermine Du Burns Arena.
Varsity Indoor Soccer Champions
|“A” Conference||“B” Conference|
|2018-19||Mercy High School||Roland Park Country School|
|2017-18||Mercy High School||St. Paul’s School for Girls|
|2016-17||John Carroll||St. Paul’s School for Girls|
|2014-15||Garrison Forest||Key School|
|2013-14||Friends||Roland Park Country|
|2010-11||Maryvale Prep||Garrison Forest|
|2009-10||John Carroll||Garrison Forest|
|2008-09||Maryvale Prep||Garrison Forest|
|2007-08||John Carroll||Baltimore Lutheran|
|2006-07||Maryvale Prep||Garrison Forest|
|2005-06||Institute of Notre Dame||Maryvale Prep|
|2004-05||Institute of Notre Dame||St. Paul’s School for Girls|
|2003-04||Institute of Notre Dame||Friends|
|2002-03||Institute of Notre Dame||Friends|
|2001-02||Institute of Notre Dame||Maryvale Prep|
|2000-01||Notre Dame Prep||—|
|1999-00||Notre Dame Prep||Institute of Notre Dame|