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Healthy kicks

Looking for a kick in the (artificial) grass?

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I’m always looking for active pursuits that will up my endorphins, lower my body fat, and make my heart sing. I find myself returning to running because it’s quick and effective.

But dang, does it get tedious at times.

An online article gave me a nugget to ponder: “Soccer beats jogging for fitness,” read the MSNBC article’s headline. “Players had more fun, shed more fat, built more muscle, and were less tired,” continued the headline; the body of the article basically explained a study by Danish scientists that compared runners to soccer players, and came up with some compelling conclusions.

Which left me considering: How does a reasonably out of shape, coordination-impaired, age-enhanced female individual get out there and experience soccer?

And I discovered that there are basically two games in town: Metro Parks, and the Tacoma Soccer Center.

Metro Parks adult co-ed leagues form in January, with registration between Jan. 2-12, which is, for me, a long, daunting wait.

Less daunting, the Soccer Center’s Women’s League drop-in program, basically a free-form Thursday evening group of women who, according to Soccer Center co-owner Marian Bowers, “range in abilities from never touching a ball to playing very well.”

Bowers explains that the better players help to coach the less advanced, and it seems to work out well for all involved. At $5 a pop, it sounds like a very cool option to me, especially given my motto, “I’ll try almost anything once, just don’t expect me to commit to it.”

Now, if I like said activity, I can go forward in several ways with the Soccer Center’s wide range of options. There are co-ed beginners leagues where teams are encouraged to give the gals a chance at kicking the ball with a two-point incentive (women scoring goals score two points to men’s one) as well as company co-ed teams.

The latter program was just begun, and Bowers describes this as “great team building for companies,” adding, “they seem receptive to it.” While the Soccer Center doesn’t limit team roster numbers, they do require each team member to have a membership to the soccer Center ($25, annually), and there is a league cost of $600, but you save $50 if you sign up before the first game, which is Oct. 10.

Go to the Soccer Center’s Web site for more details, and expect to see me out there some Thursday nights kickin’ it. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[The Soccer Center, 2601 Bay St. E., Tacoma, 253.627.2255]

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