'I think soccer's here to stay'

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      EUGENE, Ore. Track Town USA is turning into a soccer town, and not just among grade schoolers.

      People of all ages are putting on their cleats and shin guards to play.

      As they lace up their cleats, these eager early risers rarely miss a chance to kick the ball around.

      "The idea out here is nobody gets hurt. No slide tackling, just work on skills," Tom Stevens said.

      This group of men and women, some as old as 70, are out to prove that soccer isn't just a young man's game.

      On Sunday mornings at the South Eugene High School field, age is just a number and the score is meaningless.

      "Some of the dads playing out here started again like myself when they had kids in elementary school and coaching and picked up the game again," Eimar Boesjes said.

      Boesjes grew up in the Netherlands where soccer was a major part of his childhood.

      "Just have fun, it's not about scoring goals. Every goal ties the game," Stevens said.

      In the midst of a World Cup frenzy a continent away, there's talent from all over the world playing right in Springfield.

      "We were a little bit nervous, because there hasn't been pro soccer here before. And it was just a pleasant surprise to see people come and be just as excited about soccer as we are," Tricia Schroffner said.

      Excited fans bang the drum and don the color red for Lane United Football Club.

      Brothers John and Dave Galas started the team, recruiting players from Spain, Germany and even Brazil to come to Oregon.

      "To bring a different flavor to the game. And it's been a really fun project for us on the field as well as off," John Galas said.

      Galas and fans agree soccer is no longer taking a backseat for sports fans on the west coast. The sport is taking root around Eugene and Springfield.

      "I think soccer's here to stay. It's a well-received sport at the grassroots level. And obviously with the Timbers just up the road, that certainly helps," Galas said.

      And no matter if you want to watch from the bleachers or run the pitch, there's more than one game near you and it's all in a day's drive.

      Lane United's next home game is this Sunday evening when they'll face the Victoria Highlanders at Willamalane Center. | Visit the Lane United FC website