GVSU to host club soccer regional tournament

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU Club Sports
Womens club soccer team

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU Club Sports Women’s club soccer team

Brodie Orent

This weekend, the Women’s Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference (W-MASC) will host its regional tournament in Allendale for the first time in its 10-year history.

Between 250 and 300 athletes are expected at the event, along with 200 to 400 spectators, as GVSU will look to showcase its facilities and club sports programs.

“I think it’s a validation more of our facilities and our administration’s dedication to making our facilities for all the students,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Crooks. “Not just athletics, but club sports and for regular students to go play in clubs, I think it’s a validation of how much they support the average student.”

The Laker women’s team qualified for the home tournament and will take on the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a match against Michigan State at 1:00 p.m. with the possibility of playing one or two more games on Sunday, if GVSU advances.

“I knew we have a pretty good team, this is the top of our conference in club soccer,” Crooks said. “These are some really good teams and for us to qualify — and not only did we qualify — but we qualified ahead of one school that we usually finish behind all of the time.”

GVSU won the chance to host the event due in part to its facilities and previous experience hosting large events.

Eric Garvelink, first year assistant director of Campus Recreation, said this will be a great opportunity for GVSU’s student staff and club teams to gain experience in hosting a large event.

“It is providing our campus community with an event to showcase our club sports program, specifically women’s club soccer,” Garvelink said.

Although there is no real financial gain for GVSU, Garvelink mentioned how the women’s club soccer team doesn’t have to pay for gas for travel, or hotel and food expenses. It also allows the students to stay focused on class work instead of traveling.

With the large crowds expected, local businesses have incentive to also get involved.

“For local businesses, it offers them the opportunity to open their doors to guests and teams from around the region who will be looking for a place to eat during the breaks in between games,” Garvelink said.

GVSU has exceptional facilities for hosting the event and Crooks thinks people will want to stay forever.

“We’ve been to some other places that have some decent facilities, but they’re not going to have the same sort of ‘wow’ factor that they get at other places like they’ll get at Grand Valley,” he said. “How we do things here and how everybody takes care of all the things that need to be taken care of and world-class facilities and first-class everything, nobody is going to be disappointed.

“That’s an easy way to say it.”

Menna’s Joint, Mancinos, Main St. Pub, and the GVSU campus dining department will help, providing food and drink for tournament volunteers.

In addition to UW-Madison and MSU, the Lakers will host Michigan, Central Michigan, Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Ohio, Loyola, Miami (Ohio) and Purdue at the tournament.

The games will take place on the intramural fields, with the championship game moving to the turf field near the GVSU women’s soccer team field.