Indiana Soccer yesterday announced that Grand Park, which it believes will be the “biggest sports park in the nation,” will be ready in 2014.
Following the hosting by the state in Indianapolis of its first-ever MLS SuperDraft, and the announcement last week of a North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise for the city, Hamilton County Sports Authority continued the buzz with an update on a new $45 million 360-acre sports complex in Westfield.
To be called Grand Park, it will contain 31 soccer fields and 26 diamonds for both baseball and softball. There will also be two indoor facilities which will accommodate year-round play for a variety of sports.
The new complex will also house Indiana Soccer’s headquarters and its executive director, Dave Guthrie, said the complex will be a perfect location to cultivate the state’s talent.
“This complex will attract some of the premier national and international tournaments and players from around the globe,” he said.
The project is being led by the City of Westfield, which is paying for the development with tax increment financing-generated bonds.
However, Mayor Andy Cook said the project would not be possible without the participation of the private sector, which will manage and operate the complex.
Planners recently notified construction companies they are seeking bidders to install synthetic turf on seven of the 31 soccer fields. Bids will be opened next Tuesday (Jan. 29).
Following a one-year agreement with the college, the state finals are scheduled to be played at Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on Saturday, October 27.
The Class A boys’ state championship will begin at 10:30 am and will be followed by the Class A girls final at 1 p.m., the Class 2A boys at 3:30 p.m. and the Class 2A girls at 6 p.m.
The boys’ and girls’ soccer state finals had been played at Kuntz Memorial Stadium in Indianapolis since the tournament’s inception in 1994.
The stadium includes a newly installed FieldTurf Revolution surface that is FIFA and NCAA-compliant at 115 x 75 yards and is home to IUPUI’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Sandra Walter, who administers both state tournaments as IHSAA assistant commissioner, said everyone involved is excited about the soccer-specific facility and the fan-friendly surroundings there.
“For the first time, we will provide practice space for our state finalists prior to the tournament and with the change to a FIFA-approved synthetic surface, we feel that the new accommodations will be well received and prove beneficial to our state qualifiers,” she said.
Christian Academy of Indiana tasted postseason success for the first time last fall — and they are hungry for more.
The Warriors won the inaugural Class A Sectional 60 boys’ crown when beating Providence 2-0, a result which means they will no longer be considered a surprise packet.
Which is fine with coach Will Lorigan, who said he thinks the success of the team is the first fruit of a greater effort by the school’s athletics department to field teams that not only compete, but compete with excellence.
“If anything, winning a soccer sectional last year erased the mental hurdle some kids face when playing against good opponents,” he said.
“Needless to say last year’s success has instilled a greater hunger for the coming season in the returning players and given the new players an immediate goal to reach and then to push further during their soccer careers at Christian Academy.
“One of the things I tell my players is the difference between a good and great athlete is the top three inches — not necessarily how skilled you are but how mentally tough you are.”
Last year, athletic director Chris Harper introduced soccer at elementary level to add to a middle-school program.
“Ultimately, the goal is to start producing quality athletes every year for every sport, with the elementary and middle school grades focusing on fundamentals, team work, character and spiritual growth,” said Lorigan. “By the time these kids reach high school they should be ready to plug into the junior varsity and varsity teams of every sport, continually raising the level of excellence that we compete at.”
There are 10 freshmen coming into the soccer program this year, the largest since the Warriors’ current senior class, and they will find the standard bar set that little bit higher.
“I challenged the current seniors to win a sectional title by the end of their senior year, and they achieved that in their junior year,” said Lorigan. “I’ll be doing the same with this freshman class but setting the standards higher because their foundation is stronger.”
New additions such as Nick Reed, James Martin, Cole Ragland and Garrett Couch will join some solid returning players, such as Caleb Ferree, Josh Moore, Quinn Banet and Justin Baird.
“We also have a new goalkeeper in junior Lucas Young who has big shoes to fill after Drew Mattingly and Tyler Stumler but we think he is equal to the task.” said Lorigan.
This year’s preparations included participating in the University of Louisville team camp this summer which Lorigan described as “an extraordinary experience.”
“The players learned a lot about team work, team goals, individual goals, and most importantly how to approach the game of soccer,” he said. “The camp was so beneficial we’ll be committing to it every year as we continue to build the program.”
Elsewhere, Providence will be keen to have a good season and complete it with its first sectional title since 2008, while Rock Creek Academy, Silver Creek, Henryville and Charelstown will be striving to improve their respective programs also.
New Albany, Jeffersonville and Floyd Central will be hoping for good runs in the Hoosier Hills Conference before attempting to wrestle the Class 2A Sectional 30 title from the grasp of Jasper.
Below is the full version of the Q&A with Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Bobby Cox, which appeared in The Evening News & Tribune yesterday.
The high school soccer season kicks off next week across Southern Indiana, and with it come more changes both on and off the field.
On it, we will see the elimination of the “soft red” card in an attempt to improve sportsmanship.
In one of three changes being introduced by the National Federation of State High School Associations Soccer Rules Committee, a second yellow card will not only disqualify a player, but the team will not be permitted to substitute for him or her.
Off it, we have seen the introduction of the two-class system by the Indiana High School Athletic Association in 2011.
Then, a few weeks ago, a new two-year tournament success factor was approved for all team sports, including soccer.
It involves an accumulation of points by which a school will move up a class based on tournament-series performance during that time.
Success achieved during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years will be used to determine classifications in 2013-14.
So we thought it would be a good time to put a few questions to IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox about recent changes and how the organization believes they will affect the fifth-most popular sport at the high school level.
Cox commenced in his new role in 2011, having served as assistant commissioner since 2000 administering the sports of football, boys’ golf, boys’ and girls’ track and field, and wrestling.
He is a graduate of Carmel High School and spent 21 years as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator in the Carmel Clay Schools.
Kick It: There has been a bit of a shake-up in numerous high school sports in Indiana coinciding with your appointment as commissioner, including soccer which saw the introduction of two classes in 2011. How do you feel the new structure has fared so far and what kind of feedback have you had on it?
Bobby Cox: The change to two classes in soccer was motivated by the soccer coaches’ association after several years of surveying their membership and a growing level of support during that time to classify the tournament. After year one, I feel the tournament went well. As our membership continues to polarize with regard to enrollment, I feel that two classes will serve soccer well.
KI: You are quoted as saying the introduction of the two-year tournament success factor “will prove to enhance the team-sport experience” across the disciplines that it will affect. How do you see it enhancing the experience in soccer?
BC: As more schools add soccer to their sport offerings, the opportunities that the success factor will provide will extend to soccer. Obviously that will increase should soccer move to three or more classes in time. … Additional classes in soccer will come when the number of schools that offer the sport increases. Our by-laws provide that when 75 percent of the membership (currently at 408 full-member schools) is participating in the sport, a third class may be created and when 95 percent of the membership participates, a fourth class may be added.
KI: So while there were 292 boys’ teams involved in postseason competition last year (around 72 percent), the girls total of 252 teams (62 percent) would need to increase by around 54 programs for a third class to be considered. So when do you foresee a three-class structure, based on growth projections?
BC: You are correct. Both genders would need to achieve the 75 percent threshold to consider three classes. Given the current financial climate at our member schools and a growth rate of less than three schools annually, I do not foresee three classes in soccer for quite some time.
KI: So is it fair to say then that the “opportunities” that the success factor will provide to the sport in the immediate years will be minimal while it remains as a two-class sport?
BC: Obviously there will not be as much movement of schools when there is only two classes as opposed to four or six.
KI: Wouldn’t this therefore give credence to the criticism that the success factor might work with sports with three or more classes, but won’t work as well — maybe even be detrimental — for those who might have to make a potentially big “jump up” in soccer? (For example, Providence, winners of the inaugural Class A girls’ state title and therefore already accumulating four points when you take into account 2011-12, could be taking on schools with up to 10 times as many girls in 2013 should they win at least regional this fall and rack up the six-point total.)
BC: I do not see any detriment to a 1A school that has experienced a level of success necessary to move up to 2A soccer, other than it will be more difficult to win and that is exactly what the program is designed to accomplish.
KI: Are you concerned about schools trying to take advantage of the changes to enhance their chances of success in future years (not making any real effort to perform when moved up a class, for example)?
BC: It is rare to see a school participate in an IHSAA tournament series event and not give their best efforts. My sense is that if Providence High School’s girls’ soccer team moves into 2A girls’ soccer in 2013-14, they will bring everything they have to the tournament.
KI: There are those that believe private/parochial schools should have their own state tournament because they can recruit from the entire local area and are already in an advantageous position as a result. Is this something the IHSAA has looked at?
BC: The public/private/parochial debate has raged on since the initiation of the multiple-class system in team sports. A proposal to divide the IHSAA membership into public and private divisions was introduced into the Board of Directors agenda this year. The proposal failed and rightfully so. … While private and parochial schools have certain advantages, public schools also possess advantages as well. All these varied advantages are now being addressed by implementing a success factor. At the end of the day, some people are only concerned with what schools are winning IHSAA state championships and those people want to feel as if their school has a fair opportunity to be successful. Thus, we are addressing success.
KI: Other than class changes, has the IHSAA discussed future improvements or alterations to soccer as it grows in popularity?
BC: The executive committee has approved the staff to secure a new location for our state championships. We are looking into options and will name a new state finals venue in August.
No sooner has the curtain come down on the club travel soccer season than preparations are under way for high school teams.
The kick off for the fall season is just weeks away and one tournament used by Indiana teams to get in shape is the GY Armor High School Soccer Showcase at Davis Park in Anderson.
The 12th annual event sees 58 boys’ teams in action in 14 different groupings this weekend.
One of those participating is Floyd Central’s varsity squad. The Highlanders will kick off in Group H against Munster (2 p.m.) before taking on Sycamore of Ohio (8 a.m.) and Hamilton Southeastern on Sunday (2 p.m.) in games comprising two 35-minute halves.
College coaches from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan have been invited to the event.
The spring travel soccer season is upon us and local teams are preparing for the big kick off with optimism.
Both Southern Indiana United and girls’ club Net-Surfers have numerous teams taking part in various leagues.
And some of these—seven to be exact—will be involved at the end of the campaign in Indiana Soccer’s major travel-team tournaments, the draws for which were made recently.
The State Cup is Indiana’s the top-tier competition and Net-Surfers ’94 will be among 16 taking part this year in the U18 section from May 18 to 20.
The girls, coached by Walter Iglesias, have been drawn with FC Pride, Evansville SC and Columbus Express.
The team is even stronger this year, thanks to the merger of the U18s with the U17s, and they have been hard at practice since January, with several playing indoor at Mockingbird.
Coach Iglesias said he is “very excited” to have such a talented team this year.
“There is a lot of talent and experience on the team,” he said. “After watching both U16 and U17 teams take first and second place last spring, I wanted to merge the teams and get them exposed to a higher level of competition.
The girls will face top competition this spring in the Indiana Soccer League, and will kick off their league season against Tippecanoe Blue on April 7, followed by a home game against Vigo County at John Woehrle Field on April 14.
“The girls deserve it,” said Iglesias. “I am very excited about the season and have plans to play additional scrimmages to ensure we are ready to have a good showing during State Cup.”
Meanwhile, three of the area’s teams will take part in the Indiana Presidents Cup.
The event, now in its second year, is a middle-tier competition between the State and Challenge Cup levels.
The tournament features boys’ and girls’ teams from U11 to U17, with champions from U14 to U17 getting the chance to represent Indiana at regional and possibly national level.
Three of the area’s squads –U16 Net-Surfers and Southern Indiana United’s U15 Strikers and U13 Thunder – will participate in the preliminary round, which takes place from May 18-20 at various venues.
SIU U15 Strikers, led by Mike Berticelli Travel Coach of the Year finalist Paul Duckworth, are fancied to go all the way to the championship decider, with their biggest threats expected to Cutters and Pike.
Both are also Indiana Soccer League rivals, and they will get to play the pair twice before the Presidents Cup takes place.
Net-Surfers U16s, coached by Gary Tanner, will prepare for the Presidents Cup by playing in Kentucky Select Soccer League’s Premier Division. The girls’ first game will be at Lexington on April 1.
SIU’s U13 Thunder also plays in the KSSL and their first Premier Division game is also on April 1 when Mike Campbell’s charges take on Louisville Soccer Alliance.
Finally, Southern Indiana United will have three teams taking part in the Challenge Cup. They include U12 Revolution, coached by Robert Stevens; Russ Corby’s U14 Storm; and U17 Renegade, coached by Jonathon Eade.
Preliminary round games take place from May 18 to 20, with the final round being held from June 8 to 10.
Carrying the banner for southern Indiana
Providence girls’ coach Dave Smith said he believes the school is “carrying the banner” for southern Indiana soccer when it attempts to win the inaugural Class A state title against Mishawaka Marian at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis tomorrow (10.30 a.m.).
“Obviously, many people do not care for Providence, in large part because they think we’re all wealthy people, which is ridiculous, but a public assumption by many,” said Smith.
“It is my hope that folks can put that angst aside and realize that the Net-Surfers (girls’ club of which Smith is director of coaching) is an organization made up largely of kids who are not headed to Providence.
“We are all part of the southern Indiana soccer family, and I hope those folks can find it in their heart to cheer for their own, locally grown soccer players — who just happen to be wearing navy blue this weekend — to bring home a title for all of us who love this game.”
Providence has never won a state title in any sport, despite coming close in football, softball and volleyball.
So to win tomorrow would be a landmark, possibly paving the way for more titles in various sports, according to Smith, who’s hoping his 13th year as coach at the school will indeed be a very lucky one.
“It will break the stigma and set the psychological tone that we can, indeed, win it all,” he said. “For our soccer program (which has won six sectional and three regional titles), it would be an honor for the girls but I really don’t see it changing us very much. For example, I don’t see kids flocking to our doors because of this, nor do I see kids who had originally planned to attend other schools opting to come our way as a result of the success of the girls’ soccer program.”
People, should, however, flock to see this current Providence (20-0-2) team if they can. (It will be streamed live on IHSAAtv.org.) The Lady Pioneers have now scored 28 postseason goals in six games without reply. Some 11 of those came from senior Casey Marlin, who has scored in every game. In fact, she now has 36 for the season, and 95 for her high school career.
The team has had 11 consecutive shutouts since its 2-2 tie with South Oldham. The “Brick Force” nicknamed outfit comprises an almost impenetrable defense, including goalie Autumn Meyer, Leah Mattingly, Kelsey Rogers, Erin Wallace and Maryashly Betz.
Midfield is also doing its job splendidly, with Erin Duncan and Kasey Wallace working well along with Lauren Holland, Rachel Wells, Katelyn Koopman, Alyssa Jones and Katie Barron.
Marlin’s partner in crime up front is tenacious freshman attacker, Sarah Posante, and others playing their part in the Pioneers’ success this fall include Michelle Knear, Allie Gillenwater, Kathleen Wiles, Jordan Reger, Gabi Wixon and Kelsea Bedan.
However, the northern Indiana No.5 Mishawaka Marian (18-2-1) – who beat No. 2 West Lafayette 2-1 in the semistate final – will be a tough nut to crack this Halloween weekend.
Ones to watch are Gabrielle Veldman, top scorer with 32 goals, her sister, freshman Denise Veldman, and midfielders Shannon Hendricks and Maggie Hartnagel.
“South Bend St Joseph’s won the overall title last year and they are only four or five miles apart,” said Smith. “My guess is there is a strong Notre Dame influence on this Marian team, and Notre Dame’s women’s team won the NCAA championship last fall, so I’m sure they are well coached.”
He added that at this point in the tournament, there isn’t a lot of difference between teams.
“All are quality sides,” he said. “Probably the biggest factors that separate one from the other are defense, effective team shape and ball possession, and having that ‘one special player’ who can score against quality opposition. Based on that, I sincerely believe we have a real chance to compete and win against our opponent this weekend.”
It’s been an interesting week for Smith, with the abundance of communication flowing the school’s way turning it into what he describes as “a bit of a circus.”
“I cannot imagine what the Super Bowl is like,” he joked. “But, then again, I doubt if those teams have coaches who wash their own pinnies and complete all the communication with the governing bodies of the competition, as do our local high school coaches. It’s all good and completely worth it for the kids, but it’s very time consuming, particularly when soccer is not my ‘real’ job.”
The venues for this year’s inaugural two class soccer tournaments in Indiana have been revealed by the IHSAA.
Schools with an enrollment at 755 or higher will participate in Class 2A, and those below this figure will play in Class 1A.
The Class 2A Sectional 30 for boys will take place at Floyd Central, while the 2A girls’ sectional will be hosted by Jeffersonville. Both sectionals will comprise Floyd Central, Jeffersonville, New Albany, Jasper and Corydon.
There will be two Class 1A boys’ soccer sectionals in the area. Charlestown will host Sectional 59, which consists of Charlestown, Henryville, Salem, Austin and Trinity Lutheran.
Providence will host Class 1A Sectional 60, which comprises Christian Academy of Indiana, North Harrison, Providence, Rock Creek Community Academy and Silver Creek. Click for full story in The Evening News & Tribune.
Both Kentucky and Indiana will be without representatives at the U.S. Youth Soccer national championships for the second successive year, but a few came close to making the trip to Phoenix.
Mockingbird U18 girls made it to the final decider at the Midwest Region II championships in Appleton, Wis., but lost out to FC Milwaukee, 3-1.
University of Louisville-bound Casey Whitfield — a product of Manual High School — got the lone Mockingbird goal to make her top scorer at the U18 level with seven goals in five games.
It is the first time Mockingbird has had a representative in the regional final and coach Jonathan Velotta said he was “extremely proud” of the team’s performance.
“Over the course of five games, we played with a lot of composure, focus, and commitment,” he said.
“Before the season started, our goal was to reach the regional final and to accomplish that goal is truly remarkable. We were obviously disappointed in the result, but FC Milwaukee was a deserving winner. The success of our team over the last three years has set a higher standard for girls’ club soccer, and for our club.”
Velotta added that the success of the ‘93 girls at regionals will undoubtedly raise the profile of MVSC both locally and within the region.
“The players on this team have served as great role models of our younger players and have raised the standard for all of our teams. The team has had consistent success against some of the best clubs in the nation for the past few years and helped our club gain more credibility.”
Javanon, meanwhile, had three teams make the semifinal stages, two of which had local representation.
Two-time national finalist Javanon ‘92 boys, featuring Jeffersonville’s Trevor Bruner, lost their last competitive game on penalty kicks to KCFC Force in the U19 age group.
Javanon ’94, with the Southern Indiana trio of Nick Blackwell, Matt Kelecy and Jordan Vejar amongst its ranks, was edged out, 2-1 by Grand Rapids Crew of Michigan, who went on to retain its crown.
The fourth team to get past the bracket stages was Javanon ’97 girls, which lost to Kings Soccer Academy of Ohio South 3-1.
Of the 14 Region II champions crowned, eight were from Illinois, two each were from Minnesota and Michigan and one each came from Kansas and Wisconsin.
For “Illinois,” read Chicago, with Eclipse Select (three, all girls), Fire and Magic (two each) and Sockers FC (one) dominating.
So should those involved in the game in Kentucky and Indiana be disappointed about not having a representative or two at the past two national championships, or was success in the past just a case of teams punching above their weight?
There were some interesting comments on the HoosierFutbol.com website forums after the event.
“Straight Up” said that the lower populated areas, including Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas, will generally be less successful than some of the more populated states and cities, such as Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.
“Indiana’s 91s, 92s, 93s and even the 94s all had way above-average success at regionals,” Straight Up said. “And if you look at the results this past time, there were quite a few teams in favored positions on the last day of pool play, only to fall short. Indiana soccer is alive and well. We are not Illinois and we never will be unless our population density changes with respect to our counterparts.”
“Reality” said other states play a more physical, more intense style of soccer at an earlier age, while another said there are too many clubs, diluting the talent.
Kentucky seems to be in the same boat, but has fared better in recent years, especially in the older boys’ realm, where it has a full pool of the area’s best players to choose from in the U16-U18 levels because of the absence of a development academy.
Many see academies like Indiana United as the way forward for elite player progress. But whatever their advantage, they eliminate the cream from playing for a club in the U.S. Youth Soccer championships.
In Louisville, having more teams play in the Midwest Regional League and top tournaments has helped some squads compete with the best on a year-round basis, preparing them for state, regional and possibly beyond.
Other than the achievement of Mockingbird ’93 girls, going out to a defending regional champion while playing with 10 men and being a goal up (a la Javanon ’94), or missing out on a final berth due to penalty kicks (Javanon ’92) suggests the game in these parts isn’t in too bad a shape.
And then there’s United 1996, which has emerged as the main boys’ force in Kentucky after it took four of the seven state titles between U13 and U19 this year.
None of its teams got out of the bracket stages, and while founder Muhamed Fazlagic told “Kick It” they were “very pleased” with their performance as a whole — given the number of injuries to impact players — they were also slightly disappointed with their U16s, a team of which much was expected.
“I don’t think they reached their performance level at all at the tournament,” he said. “All other teams had a much better tournament in every aspect.”
The future is bright, though, said Fazlagic, as recent local success — especially in the past two years — has attracted a great number of athletes to the club.
“We will not change much in our philosophy, where the main objective is individual player development. But with an improved players’ pool, I think we are much closer to the title at the regional level,” he said. “My personal prognosis is that it will happen in a two-year time frame.”
Which seems to give credence to the dilution suggestion, perhaps. That is, that talent is there, albeit on a smaller scale to the Chicagos of this world. And all that needs to happen with that said talent is if you want to beat the best and bring in the hardware — whether you agree with or not — is to have it deeply concentrated at fewer clubs.