No official standings have been kept, nor has an all-conference team been selected, but indoor soccer is alive and kicking in the Interstate Athletic Conference.

Last weekend, more than 250 soccer players from 40 teams took part in Georgetown Prep's 12th annual indoor tournament, which featured youth as well as high school-age teams.

In fact, the current schedule lists an indoor tournament at one area private school or another nearly every weekend from Christmas until the beginning of March. The highlight for high school indoor competition will be the Bullis tournament Feb. 16-18. The event will have 45 youth and high school-age teams competing.

Of the seven IAC schools, Bullis, Sidwell Friends and St. Albans consider indoor soccer a varsity sport, Landon and Georgetown Prep have nonvarsity teams, while Episcopal and St. Stephen's are not participating this season.

Area public schools do not field formal teams. Players from those schools join club teams for the indoor season and participate in many of the tournaments hosted by IAC schools.

The original impetus for indoor soccer came from the weather. IAC schools had played soccer outdoors during the winter from 1959, when the conference was formed, until 1980. After chronic problems with postponements and rescheduling, the league decided to move varsity soccer to the fall in 1981. The indoor game began as a way to keep the players sharp during the winter months.

"We kind of started on a lark," said Ed Sundt, head coach of Landon's indoor team for the past 10 seasons.

"From the school standpoint, it was a good option for us," said Bullis Athletic Director Walt King. "We were limited in the offerings {sports} we had for the kids in the winter."

By the time the ball literally got rolling in IAC gyms, enthusiasm for the indoor game, which had begun to build when the Major Indoor Soccer League played its first season in 1978, was taking hold. The interest was nurtured in great part by the organization and dedication of IAC coaches.

"We have been persistent and consistent," said Georgetown Prep Coach Guy Fraiture, one of the founders of the unofficial indoor league. "The organization is the best it could be at this point."

In the beginning, the IAC schools played mostly against one another. The tournaments grew out of increased interest in the indoor game and soon became an important source of revenue for the schools' soccer programs.

"It has always been enjoyable," said Fraiture. "It became practical in the sense of the fund-raising. {The tournaments} have become an easy way to cover the seasonal expense for a team."

Money earned from the tournaments goes toward the purchase of equipment for the outdoor season. Bullis Coach Doug London, who hopes to earn approximately $5,000 from his tournament, has used some tourney revenue to send his players to summer camps. The entry fee for a team in an indoor tournament is about $75 per team.

The game has a variety of appeals to the players. "I like the fast and physical part of the game," said Greg Loeel, a senior at Bullis. "I think it helps in your outdoor game in the sense of helping you find your place on the field and where to move to. It also helps my quickness, and I do feel it is good for conditioning."

The growing popularity of indoor soccer in the IAC apparently does not mean that varsity status for the sport throughout the league is near.

"I would be surprised if it evolved any further," said Sidwell Friends Athletic Director Gary Blackman. "I doubt it because a number of schools don't have the facilities."

Even among schools that do have the facilities, the rules sometimes have to be tailored to the venue. The shape of Sidwell Friends's gym, for example, allows for "live" play off only three of the four walls.

Generally speaking, the high school indoor game features five players to a side (including the goaltender) and 18 minutes of nonstop play. As in hockey, players can serve two minutes in a penalty box for illegal moves.

"The appeal of the indoor game is the nonstop action," said Fraiture, a former referee in the NASL and MISL. "That is tremendously appealing. The kid is always involved."