Milwaukee’s indoor soccer team started as a simple idea from Financial Analysts Mirko Novakovic and Misha Tubic a few years ago. “We both played basketball at Rockwell Automation, and Mirko played volleyball, too. We noticed there were a lot of different sports that people were playing, but no one had a soccer team,” said Misha.
“Mirko polled some people in accounting, the financial analysis group and internal audit, and found others who wanted to play. He pitched the idea to the rec department and they gave us funding to help offset the cost of the league. We got some Rockwell Automation shirts and started two sessions ago.”
Now the eight-person team gets together to play games once a week for about 10 weeks, including playoffs, at an off-site soccer complex. “We played other men’s teams in the Brookfield Indoor Soccer Complex. We had some pretty good competition, especially when we played the younger guys. They were kinda quick,” Misha joked.
Turns out the Rockwell Automation team is pretty good competition, too. “We have some talented athletes at Rockwell,” noted Misha. Most of the team played soccer in high school or college. A couple players even played in the local amateur league. Rockwell Automation’s team placed in the middle of the pack its first season and took first place in its division earlier this year.
For Fun and Fitness
For Mirko and Misha, however, it isn’t about winning.
“Getting together outside of work creates a different kind of bond among your co-workers. That was a fun thing,” said Misha. “Also we had a terrible winter, so just getting out to run around for a couple hours every week was nice. It gives you a different activity than going to the gym and running on a treadmill, and it’s a little more competitive.”
Mirko and Misha were active before starting the team. But playing competitively certainly motivates them to keep moving. “Soccer is very demanding cardio,” said Misha, who did several 5Ks last year to stay in shape and complete his Take Action activity. Simply put, playing a team sport can motivate participants to maintain or improve their fitness level. Plus it’s a great way to stay active, connect with co-workers and reduce stress.
The indoor soccer sessions start as early as this month and continue through spring. Mirko and Misha hope to generate enough interest to add another men’s team or a co-ed team—there has been interest from female athletes at Rockwell Automation—and offer different levels of competitiveness as a result. “There’s a lot of soccer in Milwaukee,” notes Misha. “There’s interest here.”
And, of course, they wouldn’t mind another playoff win.
To Improve Your Health, Get in the Game!
Participating in a team sport or group activity is a great way to stay physically active. You’ll gain the typical benefits of exercise (e.g., improved cardiofitness, reduced stress). Plus you’ll meet people, develop a sense of community, flex your teamwork muscles and exercise your mind as well as your body. To find a competitive or recreational league near you, check your city recreation center. To find a team or group activity at Rockwell Automation, check Yammer or the recreation department.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, start your own! All it takes is one person with enough motivation to get the word out. Just choose an activity you enjoy, find others who want to participate, and make it both easy and fun to join in.