Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 12, 2013

Crowd, public like soccer at Ken Locke

By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express

---- — History was made Monday night when the first Knoxville High School soccer games were played at Ken Locke Stadium.

As reported, home soccer games will be held at the stadium this season, due to the condition of the grass on the field at the Randy Wilson Track. Though the track’s namesake, Activities Director Randy Wilson, stressed that the games will be in the historic location for one year, support is present within the community to utilize the stadium more.

A photo posted on the Journal-Express Facebook page drew many comments and positive feedback about using the stadium more. The school district and community have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the 75-year-old landmark over the past several years. Fans who attended Monday’s games found the venue more accommodating to the sport, though the field is not regulation size.

“It seems like a real game out here,” Greg Clark of Knoxville said. He thinks it would be good to move soccer to the stadium permanently, as he said it is one of the main attractions in the city. He found it easier to watch the game on the stone seats as well, when compared to the bleachers at the track.

“I’m sure the kids like it, too,” Clark added.

“I think it’s awesome,” Allison Fortune-Schmitz said on Facebook.

“The field should be used more often,” Anthony Avon added. “That community has spent their own money for repairs. ‘Show off Stadium’ – it has already been saved!”

Wilson reported at the game that he had heard other positive comments.

“Even though it is not an official-sized field, it has worked out well,” Wilson said. The fact that the stadium’s field is not regulation size only disqualifies Knoxville from hosting post-season play there.

“It was great watching soccer play at the stadium,” Teresa Stittsworth added on Facebook.

“It is a great idea to utilize the stadium for everything possible during good weather,” Rory Colyn also added on Facebook.

The stadium held a bit of luck in soccer’s debut. The JV team won its game 1-0 and the varsity team won 8-0. Coach Dylan Mick was pleased with his team’s performance, specifically their ability to win the ball and stop Chariton’s defense. (Look for more on the game itself in Sports.) He, too, enjoyed the temporary venue.

“This is the best piece of grass we’ve got in the whole town,” Mick said. He added that it is a beautiful field, one that the town should showcase as much as it can.