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A postcard from the final days at Fieldhouse Sports in Bow

CHASTAIN
ANACLETO RAPPING/ASSOCIATED PRESS
/
LOS ANGELES TIMES
"I was growing up at a time when soccer was becoming more common, I think, in our culture as Americans," said 34-year-old Sara Persechino. "The U.S. women's soccer team was going around on a tour and they were making soccer cool, for girls... It became my identity. I was a soccer player." Persechino started playing at Fieldhouse Sports as a 9-year-old in 1997.

In this photo, Brandi Chastain reacts to her winning penalty kick that won the 1999 World Cup for the U.S. National Team in their game against the China in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday July 10, 1999. After scoring the championship-winning goal, Chastain ripped off her jersey, swung it over her head and waited to be mobbed by her jubilant U.S. teammates.

This week, Fieldhouse Sports in Bow will close its doors. The sprawling indoor facility has been home to amateur soccer leagues since 1997. Hundreds of teams, and thousands of people, play on the fields every week, from kids as young as 3 years old to adults in their 70s.

Editor's note: We highly recommend listening to this story.

This closure opens up a huge hole in the lives for many people in southern New Hampshire.

And it's not just about soccer. For some of the players in the 25-and-older women's league, it's also raises theme of motherhood, sexism, the Dobbs ruling and the importance of the third space.

"I'm really disappointed. I really feel like losing this opportunity is significant for my week, for my exercise, for my body, for my relationships," said Beth Ketaineck, 41.

NHPR's Justine Paradis spoke to a few of her teammates about playing "the beautiful game" as an adult and what the space has meant to them.

Special thanks to the Grass Kickers for allowing Justine to record their final games, and to Kenley Persechino. Music by Aaron Ximm and Matt Large.

Justine Paradis is a producer and reporter for NHPR's Creative Production Unit, most oftenOutside/In. Before NHPR, she produced Millennial podcast from Radiotopia, contributed to podcasts including Love + Radio, and reported for WCAI & WGBH from her hometown of Nantucket island.

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