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The Journal Gazette

  • Stefankiewicz

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 1:17 am

Soccer fest is back at IPFW

Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette

The 16th annual Shindigz National Soccer Festival will return to the IPFW’s Hefner Fields on Aug. 21-22 after a one-year hiatus.

Last year, the festival was at the Fort Wayne Sport Club on the first day but rains forced games to be canceled or moved to Carroll.

"We always wanted to be at IPFW," event president Terry Stefankiewicz said. "It’s the best place for us."

With the way the summer has been, weather will be a concern but Stefankiewicz is just happy to be back at Hefner.

"We were out there for so many years because it has the bleachers, lights to extend play," he said. "We have over 40 teams coming in this year. IPFW just has more fields and more availability."

The festival coincides with the Bishop Luers invitational, which has reached capacity in that "we have no more fields and no more times to play."

The festival continues to include local colleges, with the Indiana Tech women facing Goshen at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 21 and Trine women playing Anderson at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21.

The IPFW men’s team will play Michigan State at 6 p.m. Aug. 21, the Indiana Tech men will square off against Saint Francis at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 22 and Xavier will take on Ohio State at 8 p.m. Aug. 21.

Eight-time NCAA champion Indiana will face Marquette at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

"People in town have loyalty to one of the colleges but perhaps not all of them," Stefankiewicz said. "By having IPFW, Saint Francis and Indiana Tech and Trine, as well, all participating, it just gives a reason to attend if you’re a college buff."

When scheduling colleges, Stefankiewicz says less is more.

"We don’t want any more than two college games on a field per night," he said. "It dilutes the attendance because they won’t sit for three games or more."

The festival started in 2000 as a smaller event. It’s since grown to "a full-fledged, grassroots, community-supported soccer celebration," according to an official release.

The festival will have a beer tent for those 21 and over and activities including sumo soccer, disc games and dodgeball.

High school games will begin at 5 p.m. Aug. 21 and 10 a.m. Aug. 22. A full high school and college schedule is available at NationalSoccerFestival.com.

areichel@jg.net