Express Soccer

THE NORFOLK Express Soccer Club is hosting its 22nd annual tournament this weekend.

There’s a familiar saying that begins, “It takes a village … ”

Brooke Drees, tournament director for the Norfolk Soccer Express Club, can relate.

The club’s annual tournament is set for Friday through Sunday, June 21-23, at the Air Park Soccer Complex, located three miles south of Norfolk.

This year’s event has drawn 76 teams, which translate into an estimated 1,200 players. Nineteen of teams will be representing the Norfolk Soccer Express Club.

“You don’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes to put on a successful tournament each and every year,” said Drees, who learned the ropes last season as a co-director of the club’s signature event. “This year has definitely been a learning experience in terms of working with the coaches and members of board to make sure everything is in place.”

Fortunately, there is a method to the madness.

“As an organization, we require a parent or guardian of each of player to volunteer for a 1½-hour shift covering the two weeks leading up to, and through the weekend of the tournament,” Drees said. “We have a great group of parents help year after year and this year is no exception.”

Drees estimates around 200 volunteers have or will handle things such as parking lot security, cart drivers — who take handicap and elderly people from parking lot to the field — mowing and marking of eight fields, concessions stands and trash duty.

Throw in hundreds of spectators and it’s quite the production.

“We’ll be bringing in families from South Dakota, Iowa and as far west as North Platte.” Drees said. “It’s a great opportunity for the community of Norfolk to come out and see some great soccer in its own backyard.”

Matches begin Friday at 6 p.m., and run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

“We’re ready,” Drees said. “Our complex is showing no effects from the March flooding and looks amazing.”

In other news

Times are changing and the Norfolk Golden Girls under-18 softball team is changing with them. With the exception of its own tournament during the first week in June, the team spent its entire 2019 season on the road.