Jackson soccer scene reflects diverse international community

As the World Cup enters its final week, KHOL checked in with local soccer fans and players here in Teton County.
Carlos Elizondo has coached soccer for over 25 years and has worked at JH Indoor since it opened this past summer. (Emily Cohen/KHOL)

by | Dec 12, 2022 | People

 

Jackson has boasted a thriving outdoor soccer scene for years, but now both youths and adults can play and practice indoors during the cold winter months. This past summer, a new 37,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility opened off of South Highway 89. 

Ted Staryk, the owner of Snake River Brewing, is one of the founders of the facility. He appreciates the international draw of the sport.

“People from all different cultures love to play soccer,” Staryk said. “And we see that here in Jackson.”

Carlos Elizondo coaches at the facility and said the diverse soccer community is unique for a small town.

“We have a lot of Eastern Europeans, we have a lot of people from Mexico or South America,” Elizondo said.

Thirty-two-year-old Igor Ginju, who’s originally from Moldova, has been playing since he was seven years old. When he isn’t busy running his business, Rocky Mountain Car Service, he’s running around on the soccer field.

“Soccer is in my heart,” Ginju said. “My father played as a professional in Moldova. So that’s in my family.”

Ginju said that, while there are people from all over the world on his team, they speak a common language on the field.

“We are from Romania, from Moldova, from Russia, from Turkey,” Ginju said. “It’s a mixed team, but I think soccer is the same language.”

Whether the Jackson players call it soccer, futbol or le foot, they can all agree on the charm of the “beautiful game.” 

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About Emily Cohen

Emily has served as executive director of KHOL since June 2019. She has a background in ecological design and urban planning and has worked as a teacher on the US-Mexico border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, as a policy wonk in Washington, DC and as a land use planner in Wyoming. She enjoys getting away from the operations side of radio to produce original stories about arts and culture in Jackson.

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