No matter what you think of the new Vikings stadium, there is some potential good news for St. Cloud.
One by-product of the razing of the Metrodome is that St. Cloud State is going to be the host of the entire state boys and girls soccer tournaments in 2014 and ’15.
Husky Stadium is a state quarterfinal host for boys and girls soccer. With the Dome going down after this Vikings’ season, state soccer’s final two rounds need a new home.
That’s likely to be St. Cloud State, though it won’t be finalized until the Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors vote on it in December.
“There’s still a mystique of driving to the Twin Cities,” said Ron Seibring, St. Cloud State’s director of sports facilities and campus recreation. “However, I think those folks will find that it will be easy to get to for everybody and the environment will be outstanding.
“And, I’m very confident we’ll administrate it well and it will be a very good tournament atmosphere.”
The 2014 schedule will be almost identical to 2013’s, meaning the state semifinals and the state final will be played during the day on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The 2015 schedule is less certain, depending on St. Cloud State’s football schedule.
If the Huskies are on the road during the same week, there’s a chance state soccer could be run three consecutive days at the end of the week. That would likely benefit area hotels and restaurants, with out-of-town fans staying to catch the whole thing.
“I think the biggest reason it’s coming here is we worked real hard to have the state quarterfinals here so everyone can see what I believe is the finest outdoor soccer facility in the state of Minnesota,” St. Cloud Cathedral activities director Emmett Keenan said.
Keenan is a new member of the high school league’s board of directors. He also knows a thing or two about outdoor soccer facilities. He’s a former head girls soccer coach at Cathedral.
He said that because of the way Seibring and his staff have handled other high school league activities, there was strong consensus to have St. Cloud State host the whole soccer tournament.
Both agreed that the St. Cloud community will embrace the effort for obvious reasons. It’ll be good for business and have an impact in a community our size.
The tournament typically draws about 2,000 people per session at the Metrodome, which has 60,000 seats.
Husky Stadium seats 4,900 and could hold more if needed, Seibring said. It probably won’t.
There will be a good atmosphere at SCSU, which Sebring noted has been host to a variety of state football and boys and girls basketball quarterfinals over the years.
No matter how well SCSU does in being host to the state soccer tournament, it’s likely to be only a two-year deal.
Part of the state legislature’s deal with the new Vikings stadium is that the high school league gets free rent for the state soccer tournament. That was part of the “people’s stadium” deal, though tell that to Vikings season ticket holders who are being hit up for personal-seat licenses.
Regardless, it’s a good deal for the community and SCSU, which gets to show off its facilities to potential students, not to mention high school athletes.