It’s been nearly two weeks, and still the buzz around the area soccer scene is about that turnout.
A state-record 8,200 showed up at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium on May 13 to watch Omaha South top Omaha Creighton Prep in the Class A boys state title game.
“Unbelievable,” South coach Joe Maass said that night.
To fully understand just how impressive that 8,200 figure is, compare it with the Class A state football championship.
Football is the most-attended sport on a per-game basis (and it’s not close), but November’s final between Omaha North and Millard North drew almost 1,000 fewer than the record soccer crowd.
In fact, the average attendance at the previous four Class A football title games is 6,625.
To be fair, the state soccer night featured two games, with Omaha Skutt and South Sioux City playing for the Class B championship in the first.
And the Nebraska Schools Activities Association’s paid attendance figure, which has yet to be released, will likely be smaller.
But 8,200 — Creighton’s estimate — showing up on a Monday night for a high school soccer game stands among the best.
By comparison, Ohio’s high school activities association lists its record soccer crowd as 11,101 in 2009. But that number was for five games. It was played in a Major League Soccer stadium, as well.
South’s other title game appearance was in 2010 against Lincoln East. That match drew a paid attendance of 4,187, but had an estimated crowd of 5,800. Last year’s title game between Prep and Omaha Westside had a paid number of 4,456.
Southwest junior picks Irish
Megan McCashland had a feeling she’d like Notre Dame.
But even the Lincoln Southwest junior didn’t expect to leave a visit there a couple of months ago as blown away as she did.
“There were some schools I was very excited about and would have been really happy to go to,” McCashland said. “But when I visited Notre Dame, I fell in love with the school.”
McCashland said she pledged recently to the three-time national champion Irish, citing the program’s success and the push she’ll get by playing for one of the country’s top teams in the always-tough Atlantic Coast Conference.
“The thing I was looking for the most was a program that I would go into that would challenge me,” McCashland said. “I knew Notre Dame was going to give me that challenge.”
McCashland said she visited Creighton, Nebraska, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Northwestern and Ohio State. But her trip to South Bend, Ind., was one she couldn’t duplicate.
As part of the Olympic Development Program, McCashland has spent time all over the country and even went to Costa Rica for soccer.
During the season she was invited to Chula Vista, Calif., to train with the ODP national team and scrimmage with the under-18 U.S. national team.
All the Fighting Irish success is nice, she said, but it’s opportunities like the one she got with ODP — and the challenges that come with them — that McCashland said drove her to Notre Dame.
“Of course I wanted to play for the best team I could,” McCashland said. “I’m a very competitive person, so I wanted to play at the highest level I could.”
Shrine rosters released
Rosters for the Nebraska Shrine Soccer Classic were released Friday. The games are slated for June 8 at the Osborne Sports Complex in Hastings.
South: Liz Bartels, Omaha Skutt; Allison Key, Lincoln East; Cierra Tjaden, Waverly; Alison Staub. Platteview; Jordan Hoeft, Holdrege; Kelsey Ryan, Omaha Roncalli; Morgan Daniels, Beatrice; Bianca Perry, Lincoln Southeast; Hailey Smith, Millard South; Emma Cuda, Millard West; Sidni Trotter, Bellevue East; Julia Stebbins, Omaha Westside; Stephanie Novoa, Lexington; Kelsey Engstrom, Lincoln Pius X; Emma Keel, Hastings; Teddi Phillips, Papillion-La Vista South; Emma Dubas, Millard West; Jordan Cassalia, Millard West; Lexi Harris, Lincoln East.
North: Lindsee Larson, Omaha Burke; Courtney Hayden, Kearney; Kelsey Doerr, Elkhorn South; Courtney Tjards, Elkhorn South; Josie Thompson, Gering High; Jackie Paloucek, North Platte; Emily Roll, Gretna; Megan Kruse, Gretna; Annette Moulton, Omaha Mercy; Alex Johnson, Omaha Marian; Kasi Abbenhaus, Lincoln Northeast; Kaylee Sorensen, Blair; Jordan Copple, Norfolk; Marti Hitz, York; Brylee Groskreutz, Kearney Catholic; Charlee Wiese, Fremont; Mikayla Nordin, Elkhorn; Emie Hausmann, Columbus.
South: Nick Giaffoglione, Millard South; Erick Tinajero, Lexington; Jose Marquez, Omaha South; Alex Wells, Papillion-La Vista; Jhonny Beltran, Crete; Brock Fitzgerald, Lincoln Pius X; Jake Sievers, Omaha Skutt; TJ Mulgrue, Lincoln Southwest; Michael Sadd, Hastings; Jackson Lawrence, Papillion South; Michael Kluver, Omaha Skutt; Mike Rilett, Lincoln East; Will Ferris, Millard North; Joel Newman, Millard South; Cody McCann, Omaha Gross; Jacob Quint, Ralston High.
North: Cruz Martinez, Lincoln North Star; Nick Linder, Columbus; Jon Zuniga, Columbus; Eduardo Gamboa, South Sioux City; Taylor Hayes, Grand Island Central Catholic; John Cronin, Elkhorn Mt. Michael; Quin Stolz, Grand Island; Austin Anderson, Grand Island Northwest; Riley Jones, Elkhorn South; Josh Broekemeier, Columbus Lakeview; Alex Prusa, Omaha Creighton Prep; Mark Moulton, Omaha Creighton Prep; Alex Durbin, Omaha Burke; David Finley, Elkhorn; Gabe Bushnell, Kearney; Quincy Bennett, Kearney; Robert Albrecht, Norfolk; Caleb Gahan, Lincoln Lutheran; Lucas Venegas, Grand Island; Alex Hurd, Gretna.
All-state forms needed
Coaches who haven’t done so already are asked to return All-Nebraska nomination forms to Nick Rubek by noon Saturday. They can be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Nick Rubek