MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The former home of the Minnesota Vikings is being used to bring soccer to the Twin Cities in a unique way.

Life Time Sport has reconfigured Winter Park into a state-of-the-art facility for soccer.

Twelve soccer fields outside and seven inside will be used for pick-up soccer games.

Life Time is hoping to capitalize on the surge in soccer fans and players.

“It’s amazing to think that on these fields is where Vikings players have played over the past 35 years,” said Life Time Sport President Stephanie Hu.

An area of old Winter Park, where Vikings fans would gather for draft parties, is now home to several soccer fields.

lifetime sport soccer Life Time Sport Turns Former Vikings Training Center Into Soccer Wonderland

(credit: CBS)

Hu says the game here are not structured. It is more like playing a pickup game of soccer.

“We then match you by age and ability, so you don’t even have to come with friends, you can come alone and we match you up, and then every ten minutes we switch the game,” Hu said.

It took eight weeks to renovate the space. Crews also created a game room, cardio and weight room and an area where parents can sit and let kids play.

“So you’re able to drop your kids off, be able to play soccer, and then you as a parent get to come work out on the cardio machines or go work out in our weight room, too,” Hu said.

Brandon Busbee, national sports manager of Life Time Sport, says 25 coaches will help keeps everyone learning and growing as the sport itself continues to attract more and more fans and players statewide.

“We actually provide all the equipment on the field that you need, you just have to show up,” Busbee said. “The fact that soccer is a spectator sport is growing very rapidly. Minnesota United becoming an MLS team in the last couple of years, that has really sparked a lot of passion and even just interest in the game.”

You don’t have to be a Life Time member to play at the new soccer complex. You can pay a monthly fee, but it is free if you want to try it out starting Wednesday through the end of the month.

“We have professionally maintained everything that goes on here, but for us, the biggest thing is coming out here and just getting after it a little bit and playing,” Busbee said.

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