Ed Barker, the godfather of the soccer complex that bears his name at West High, started the festivities with a simple declaration Monday night: “Let’s play soccer.”
And did the West High teams comply.
Monday was the official grand opening of West High’s new soccer complex for the beginning of Mississippi Valley Conference play, and West swept Waterloo West, 13-1 in the boys game and 10-0 in the girls game.
“It’s going to be a good place to call home,” West boys coach Brad Stiles said.
For the record, Paris Martins had the first two goals on the new field for the boys.
“That is pretty sweet,” Martins said. “But then again we got 11, so…”
“Oh gosh, I didn’t realize,” Martins said.
The girls opened play against Pleasant Valley on Thursday, falling in a shootout, but this was promoted as the official opening with the MVC opponents in the house.
The new field was a welcome change for players, who raved about the thick, soft, even surface.
“I love the new field here,” senior forward Quinn Terrill said. “It’s giant, which is awesome because it gets us into shape for other games. The grass is perfectly level, and compared to Northwest it’s a big upgrade.”
“I really like it. It’s a great place to call our home field, and it’s nice to get the student body out here to support us,” junior midfielder Eleni Katz said.
“Personally, I loved it,” senior forward Justin Baker said. “It’s good to have it on campus, so we don’t have to travel. It’s really wide and it gives players the chance to make decisions on the ball.”
For Stiles, the change from playing at Northwest Junior High still is requiring some adjustment.
“It was very awkward for me to not be at Northwest,” he confessed. “I forgot the rosters; I misplaced my keys; our normal pregame routine was not even close to what we go through so we have a lot of little things to go through.
“But in the big picture, it was great. We broke the field in the way we wanted to. With the field being as wide as it is, it’s going to play to our strengths.”
Stiles thought his team was more relaxed than in its opener, a loss at Cedar Rapids Washington last week, and that it cleaned up a lot of little things and communicated well.
“Thursday we weren’t ready quite yet,” Baker said. “Everybody’s calmed down. We realize what we need to get up there, so everybody is patient and doing their jobs, making sure they get the ball where it needs to go. That leads to scoring goals.”
Martins was dominant early, scoring three of the first four goals in the first 30 minutes, but Stiles got everyone on the field, and the result was pretty much the same regardless of who played. The Wahawks couldn’t maintain possession at all, and their goalkeeper was under constant fire.
“We’ve played with each other for so long, and we all know how each other play, and we all want to work for each other,” Martins said. “We’re all patient. We all want to win. We all have the same goal in mind.”
West girls coach Dave Rosenthal saw similar improvement in his team even though it gave a pretty good account of itself on Thursday.
“We were able to work on some things that we identified as problems in the first few games,” he said. “The forwards, the timing of the runs, getting more used to our field and the speed of play.
“There’s a lot more depth with this group than we’re used to, and they’re getting together a little more quickly than I was expecting.”
Terrill had a hat trick including the game-ender in the 49th minute under the 10-goal mercy rule in effect in girls play. Katz scored twice. Rosenthal also substituted liberally, but that just showed how much depth the girls team has, as well.
“I was worried with this team at first because we lost a lot of big people like Emma Winstead and Rachel Hegeman and Brenna Gray,” Terrill said. “But the freshmen have stepped up more than I could have imagined. Peyton (Pottratz) and Katie Olson and Anna Zimmerman, amazing in the back.”
“We’ve all gotten this drive to score this year,” Katz added. “We’re starting to really get in the groove about how to put away goals.”
Six different girls scored goals for West, and nine scored for the boys team. The weather was great and the bleachers were full. All in all a pretty successful opening.
West 13, Waterloo West 1
Goals – West High: Paris Martins 3, Wadood Daoud 2, Justin Baker 2, Nathan Schuchert, Alex Bode, Ryan O’Deen, Omar El Ramady, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Troester. Waterloo West: Christopher Cleope.
West 10, Waterloo West 0
Goals – West: Alli Peterson, Quinn Terrill 3, Eleni Katz 2, Tia Saunders, Anna Schuchert, Payton Pottratz. One goal was an own goal kicked in by Waterloo West.