Showcasing High School Soccer

Tori Dziedziak, Reporter

The women’s soccer team is sponsoring the annual Girl’s College Showcase for high school soccer players again this February.

The Showcase, to be held Feb. 23 and 24, gives individual players and girls from club teams and high school teams to get in the game. U-16 and U-19 teams are encouraged to participate.

Head coach Mark Stauffer said the tournament is a good way to bring recruits to campus to help make selections for upcoming seasons. “It’s nice because I don’t have to travel,” he joked.

Stauffer said the tourney is an opportunity for players interested in attending the university to check it out.   Soccer team members give tours to the recruits because the tournament will be conveniently held at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome in Wilkes-Barre, near to the Dallas campus.

Erin Roberts, a two-year team member, said the tournament benefits both the young players and MU.

“It’s small-sided, so [participants] get a lot of playing time,” Roberts said. “It’s a really good warm-up for spring.”

The Showcase gives the Cougars a chance to gain coaching experience and set a good example.  It takes a lot of preparation behind the scenes.

“We have to do a lot of the organizing stuff,” Roberts said. “We register teams. We recruit at the Showcase because it’s a good chance for us to see a lot of players.”

Players say the event is an opportunity for aspiring college athletes to make good reputations on the college scene, and MU is not the only university that takes advantage of this opportunity to scout new players. The King’s College women’s soccer team co-sponsors the Showcase.  The tournament is first come, first serve, so teams are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

Roberts thinks this is a bonding experience for her teammates, and they relish the chance to coach.

“For us, it’s just a good opportunity to have more experience coaching,” she said.

The perks of hosting these tournaments are many. Not only are the participants able to see live action and receive challenging practice for the spring season, they are also very likely to be spotted by some of the many college coaches who attend the event.

The tournaments also serve as a fundraiser for the MU team. Last year, proceeds offset some of the cost of a team trip to Spain.

“We put a lot of work into getting a lot of teams into the tournament, so we’re hoping that this year that it will be bigger than last year,” Roberts said. “All of the coaches and everyone were saying how well-run it was, so we’re hoping that they’ll all return and that they’ll bring some more teams.”

Roberts looks forward to the tourney for another, personal, reason: She can spend more time with her teammates.

“I think the best part is that we get to hang out and we’re pretty much paid for it. Not like ‘paid,’ but in fundraising,” Roberts said.

Stauffer said that in past years the women’s soccer team has traveled to Spain, Italy, France and the Canary Islands where they play soccer matches. On the last trip to Spain, the girls played three matches against professional teams to gain more experience.

All interested participants are asked to contact Stauffer through the University.

Registration ends Feb. 11.

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