LYNWOOD | Even a striker shouldn't be entitled to three strikes.
At least that's how Bill Dekker sees it.
"We were playing in an indoor tournament, and one of our guys takes a shot at the goal," said Dekker, director of the Midwest Wings Soccer Club. "He misses, but the ball bounces off the wall back for him to shoot again, and he misses again only to get another bounce back to shoot a third time, and he scores.
"He starts jumping around, celebrating his goal, and I had to go up to him and say, 'Hey, if we were playing outdoors, that first miss would have resulted in a goal kick and us having to fall back on defense.'"
Dekker says he feels sorry for goalies in those situations — even opposing keepers.
"A lot of times they don't have a chance," Dekker said. "Walls tend to make perfect passes."
Such is the nature of indoor soccer. And with this being the time of the year that boots the game indoors, clubs that train and play year-round usually have to deal with — or take advantage of — the walled-in dimensions.
To that Dekker says, "Tear down these walls!"
"That's what we're doing here," Dekker said of the reconfiguration of the large soccer area within the Ho-Chunk Sports and Expo Center. "We making it where we can use this entire area for 9v9 soccer games with no walls to bounce the ball off of ... rather, regular sidelines and endlines."
Though indoor soccer may keep players in shape during the offseason, Dekker says it tends to reinforce bad habits when walls are part of the game.
"If the ball is headed toward the wall which would be out of bounds in regular soccer, players don't need to hustle to keep possession as the ball is just going to bounce back to them," Dekker said. "Players with sloppy passing and dribbling don't get penalized as much in indoor soccer."
The Midwest Wings will be entering their 40th year. Originally based in Park Forest, the Wings moved to Munster where they hold most of their practices.
Recently, the Wings moved their office within Ho-Chunk, where they have trained and hosted tournaments for the better part of the last 10 indoor seasons.
"We weren't here last year as we had to go all over for places to practice and play," Dekker said, as the Ho-Chunk Nation planned to close down and sell the 60,000-square-foot facility when casino aspirations were nixed two years ago.
Fortunately for Dekker and the Wings, the Nation decided to lease the place out.
"It would have been a shame to let this building go," said Dekker, whose club also holds youth training sessions at Ho-Chunk.
During the summer season, the Wings sent four teams down to Florida to play in the Disney International Cup.
"We had a couple of teams make it to the semifinals and one team make it to the finals, where they lost," Dekker said. "It was a great experience. We got to play against players from Brazil, who were just amazing."