Afrim Nezaj’s Sports Dome in Bethlehem, New York
This week, we’re looking at Afrim’s Sports newest indoor soccer bubble, recently completed by The Farley Group!
It’s tough to think of a more passionate soccer fan than Afrim Nezaj. The Kosovo native has sung the praises of soccer for more than 25 years, coming from humble beginnings to becoming leader in the sport. Arriving in America at age ten, Nezaj served as an inspiration for his fellow immigrants, becoming a master of business, a soccer impresario, and the state’s leading figure in the world of indoor soccer.
A veteran of both pro and semi-pro play, Nezaj likely gained his soccer skills playing pickup games as a boy. Today’s youth excel when they have the chance to practice their skills year round. However, winter tends to bring an early end to the outdoor soccer season and that is certainly the case in Bethlehem, New York, the location of Nezaj’s latest air-supported structure.
As many fellow entrepreneurs have done over the years, Nezaj saw a need and stepped in to fill it. Installed in 2015, the permanent dome measures 250' x 175' x 55' and offers almost 44,000 square feet of turfed area. This sort of playing alternative is in constant demand in the hamlet of Glenmont, New York, which suffers from the harsh winters all too familiar to those of us on the east coast. Located on the grounds of the non-profit Bethlehem Soccer Club, the dome is one of the locations in the Albany area where some of the 500 teams in Nezaj’s leagues play. He also serves as head coach of the New York Shockers, one of the New York Capital District’s finest teams.
With that many teams and more than 5000 players, field space is definitely needed and this new facility joins other indoor and outdoor ones in the expanding Afrim’s Sports family. The Bethlehem dome offers a number of key features for users designed to best simulate the experience of outdoor soccer play. In addition to grass-like artificial turf, players can make use of corner kicks, throw ins, and real soccer touch lines.
It is difficult to understate the importance of unlimited practice when it comes to any sport. While some very talented players have started careers in this part of the world, they have done so with only about the half the playing time enjoyed by their counterparts overseas. When staged in domes such as this, soccer becomes a year round sport and makes the necessary field time available to those athletes determined to forge a career in the game.
However, the Bethlehem dome is not just restricted to soccer. Flag football, lacrosse, and other indoor sports enjoyed by participants of all ages feature regularly on the facility’s schedule. Given the enthusiastic response in the year since the dome first opened its doors, Nezaj’s ongoing investment in the local sports community continues to pay solid dividends.