Thirty high school soccer teams gathered on May 7th for the 18th annual Waverly-Shell Rock Soccer Tournament.
Located at the Waverly Soccer Complex, the tournament has 18 varsity teams competing, with some schools also bringing their junior varsity squads as well.
Head Athletic Director at Waverly-Shell Rock High School David Litterer says an event of this size for a school district like Waverly-Shell Rock, is huge.
“It’s probably the largest high school tournament in the state of Iowa, for a one day event, that’s out there. But we couldn’t do it without this kind of facility either,” Litterer said.
The facility, Waverly’s Soccer Complex, has nine full size soccer fields with one of those being the “premier field.” This field is complete with World Cup-style soccer nets and stands for the parents.
And with the facilities the complex boasts, says Litterer, they can attract more teams around the state. Hudson parent Brenda Buzynski says that with so many teams competing, it only helps her son’s team in the long run.
“Oh it’s great, the competition is rigorous. These teams are good. So we’re really going to have to step up our game and I think it’s a great kind of a precursor to your path to state,” Buzynski said.
Attracting teams from Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Head Coach of Waverly-Shell Rock Derek Krebsbach says the tournament is just a blast to be in.
“I played in it when I was in high school, and now I get to coach in it. Playing teams that you wouldn’t normally get to play in your season was always really fun, and every single year it’s competitive,” Krebsbach said.
And with Waverly hosting a tournament of this size year in and year out, some get the notion that Waverly is starting to be a community where soccer has a bright future. Some, like Braxton Rottinhaus.
“They care about the sport of soccer, which is good because I don’t know if many people really do. But, it’s a good image that they put out for the Waverly-Shell Rock team. And the whole town, I guess,” Rottinghaus said.
The senior midfielder at Union High School, which feeds into Hudson for soccer, has played in the tournament for four years and says it appears the community stays very involved.
According to Litterer, that community involvement is partially to thank for the tournament growing from four teams 18 years ago, to thirty now.