KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- It's been called the world's most popular sport. That's certainly the case for soccer fans in KCK, and thanks to a new indoor facility, they can play games closer to home.
On this field, there are only three languages -- English, Spanish and soccer. Raul Villegas speaks all three fluently.
It was roughly a year ago that Villegas and a group of investors bought a former paper warehouse and turned it into Soccer Nation. Villegas constructed a 40,000-foot indoor soccer center, and because he did, soccer families in Wyandotte County can finally play indoor games in their own backyard.
Villegas just celebrated one year in business. The California native says some families who have come to his leagues used to drive long distances to play indoor soccer, and the expenses were adding up.
"I recognized these kids over here, they might need a venue to do it," Villegas said. "I understand how Latino families work so hard because they want a better future for their kids."
Villegas says he named his league El Padrino, which means Godfather, because he appreciates that parents trust him to teach their kids to play.
"It's a passion they've had since they were born," Villegas said. "They probably saw their grandparents and their parents play the sport, and now, they have their own kids."
El Padrino offers indoor soccer for all ages. Emily Lopez appreciates that. She's a mother of four, and before this facility came along, her family wanted to play soccer, but there was no convenient place to do it.
"We are very appreciative of having it so close to home," Lopez said. "Before this, we didn't have a league we could play in so we enjoy being able to come out."
Next, Villegas says he wants to take the indoor game back outside. He says expenses have also added up for Wyandotte County families in the summer months, and he believes they deserve to play at home.
The El Padrino league plays its championships this weekend. Soccer players will go for their league banners this weekend in KCK with age groups beginning at six years old.