SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Boys Soccer Championship games are scheduled to be played at the Lake Country Soccer/Cooper Family Complex in Springfield.
Originally, the soccer games were planned to be in Fenton, Missouri. Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) decided to make the change to Springfield because they weren’t confident they would be able to secure a facility in Fenton.
Lake Country Soccer’s John Markey says it’s a big step for Springfield. It’s the first time the city will be hosting the state soccer championships, but this year will be different due to COVID-19.
“It makes sense they are spreading it out, looking from a COVID standpoint,” said Markey. “They’ll do the quarterfinals and semi-finals at area high schools.”
With players and spectators from around the state planning to attend, concerns over COVID-19 and travel are still top of mind. Markey says the Greenwood field can hold up to 1,200 people, but Springfields 50% capacity limits are causing schools to offer 300 tickets per team per game.
“Each game is set up as it’s own event, so to speak,” said Markey. “Our rule is that we ask spectators to wear masks in the stands, and family units to adhere to the 6-foot social distancing.”
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department released a statement complimenting the Parks Department and saying this event will be treated the same as other big events.
“Our Parks Department has been a great partner in our fight against COVID-19, regularly working with us to develop strong policies to address the unique challenges events bring. Like any large event in city limits, the requirements of the city’s Road to Recovery order will apply, including masking, occupancy limits and other measures.”Springfield-Greene County Health Department
What might seem like a needed tourism boost in Springfield will actually be minimal compared to any “normal” year for high school sports.
“They’ll be some people that come from out of town, parents and whatnot, and they’ll stay here and have lunch when they’re in Springfield,” said Lance Kettering, executive director of Springfield Sports Commission. “That’s all great for the economy, but even more just getting back to some sense of normalcy with sports and having Springfield as a destination for top championship events is always great,”
MSHSAA says Springfield will also host state tennis and state softball championships this year.