Freedom’s at your feet by Dan Gyorffy

August 11, 2018 3 min read

Freedom’s at your feet by Dan Gyorffy

Freedom’s at your feet.

For a game that dominates all sports in terms of participation in Calgary, Alberta, and Canada, yes usurping hockey since the mid-2000’s. I was always shocked to see the lack of facilities available to those, like myself, who love the beautiful game of soccer.

We are an extremely diverse city, and nation, and only becoming more, and this is one of the main reasons we attribute to its fast growth. Moreover, the game has never been more accessible to our nation, no longer are we forced to wake up at 3 am to watch, nor do we have to ship from overseas and wait four weeks to get the latest gear. Social media has even allowed us to connect with our favorite teams, players and fellow overseas fans.

Some argue that the antics of the small majority, quite apparent in this year’s World Cup, tarnish the game, and turn them off from the sport; or the slow pace and low scores make it boring. But I can assure you there is so much more to it. The tactics, the physical dedication, and mental strength needed to perform this game are intense. But to me, it’s the culture and community of the sport that makes it most exciting.

Fun Fact: I hadn’t really played soccer until 2017, midway into my 30’s, however watched and cheered religiously since 1999. I had played the occasional “recreation” game but was extremely turned off by the seriousness and physical competition- even in a leisure setting.

I wanted to learn to play, I wanted to get better, but unless you had started at a younger age- the opportunities just weren’t there. However, the more I explored soccer in our city, I started to uncover small groups of extremely talented players, whose style, talent and swagger just didn’t align with the current league’s play system. Moreover, these players would always invite me to join them—no matter my beginner level. I would join, and it felt like I had six personal coaches pushing me to be better, educating me, and inspiring me. Why would a group of strangers consistently invite me to play with them, slow down their personal game for me, and spend their evenings teaching me for no charge?

They wanted to share their culture and passion (something so Calgary), and give me the opportunity to play the game the way they did growing up. I had found new friends, developed new skills and was feeling fit.

This is why we created Urbanfc. It’s an indoor environment where soccer community and culture thrive, unrestricted, from the early morning to the late night. We aspired to build a space that focused on inclusion and freedom of play. Where players of different cultures and styles could show off and meet others with the same passion. Where beginners could learn without fear of criticism, and skilled players could perfect their abilities and create.

On our competitive drop-in nights, you’ll walk in and hear salsa music, breakbeats and old-skool hip-hop playing in the background. You’ll turn the corner and meet players from across the globe, a variety of cultures and swagger, and incredible skill. The teams will naturally swap players as the night progresses, and new friendships are made—so reminiscent of Calgary’s outdoor rinks in the winter months.

What is most amazing though, is that the players we meet on our competitive nights will come in and teach our beginner drop-in classes, even joining the play to help apply the lessons learned during the session. They’ll work with our 55+ Learn to Playgroups, and our 65+ Active Aging groups, bridging the age gap, sharing their passion and culture while igniting another’s, growing and nurturing the community.

We collaborated with some of Calgary’s most incredible graffiti artists, designers and had help from some awesome Calgary based companies to create an inclusive space for those who wish to learn, share, teach, or just play-unrestricted.

And it's beautiful- just like the game it facilitates.

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