It’s soccer here, but in the rest of the world, it’s football — not to be confused with our own American football. By whatever name, it is growing in popularity, and players of all ages and every skill level, are eagerly participating. Tibor Teleky, owner of the new Princeton Soccer Experience, which opened at 190 Witherspoon Street in early February, is himself a player, coach, and long-time soccer enthusiast.
“I have been involved in soccer a long time,” he explains. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and I have been and am coaching club teams, including the Princeton Football Club, among others. The Princeton Club has 24 teams, with all different age groups, starting at under 10.
“There was really a need for this kind of store,” he continues. “There is nothing like it in Princeton, and the interest in soccer is very strong now. Kids start playing in middle school and even earlier.”
Mr. Teleky, a graduate of Rutgers University and recipient of an MBA degree from Central European University in Budapest, has also worked in the corporate world with Merrill Lynch. He decided to pursue his dream to open a soccer shop, however, and he definitely wanted it to be in Princeton.
“I like the international aspect of Princeton, and I wanted to have the shop here and in the downtown, where there is a lot going on. People here are really interested in soccer, and I’ve already had a lot of customers in the short time I’ve been open, including many repeat customers.”
The shop features a wide range of soccer equipment, clothing, and accessories in a light and bright setting, which also features a large TV screen, showing soccer matches.
Items are available for men, women, and children, and include balls, warm-up clothing, soccer shirts, T-shirts, team jerseys, shorts, and shoes.
Light and Dry
Adidas is the main line available, but Mr. Teleky notes that he is developing the Princeton Soccer Experience’s own brand of dry-fit soccer shirts. “These are light and dry, and wick moisture away,” he explains. “They are very comfortable and cool.”
A variety of balls in different colors and designs, weights, and sizes, including the small “skill” balls, and size 4 for kids, are all available. Prices of balls range from $11.99 for skill balls, $17.99 for regular size, all the way up to $150 for a top-of-the line hand-stitched model.
Shoes, including the Adidas Predator F 50 and the Samba for kids, are among those available, at different price ranges, with a good quality shoe starting at $50. They are all in bright, contemporary styles.
“Most people have more than one pair of soccer shoes,” points out Mr. Teleky, “and we can definitely accommodate them.”
Colorful fan scarves representing different teams are available, along with assorted accessories, including gym bags, shoe laces, shin guards, ankle protectors, pre-wrap, and ball pumps.
Mr. Teleky is also proud of the large number of trophies on display, won by teams he has coached.
“I had been thinking about doing this for more than two years, and I am so happy to see it materialize. I’ve met so many people since I’ve been here. I enjoy meeting all the customers and talking about soccer. I also look forward to expanding my selection as time goes on.
“In addition, my long-term goal is team sales. There are a lot of different clubs throughout New Jersey, and I’d like to become a soccer supply and service store.”
Princeton Soccer Experience is open Monday through Saturday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 4. (609) 580-1924.