When the Waverly Tigers and Jackson Ironmen meet on Saturday, Sept. 1 for a soccer match, they won’t be playing in either team’s home county.
The Tigers and the Ironmen will be headed to Columbus to play their game at Crew Stadium, home of the Columbus Crew Major League Soccer team.
Waverly and Jackson will take the field at 3:30 p.m. and after their game, the Crew will take on the Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. All of the high school players have the opportunity to stay and see the professional game after they play on the field.
Waverly coach Chris Williamson explained how the program works.
“The Columbus Crew is Ohio’s only professional soccer team and they play in one of the nicest ‘soccer specific’ stadiums in the country. A couple years ago they started offering high school programs the chance to play on their field to help promote their team and the sport,” said Williamson.
“We have looked into this for the past couple years and decided to give it a shot this year with Jackson. We are required to sell 200 tickets to the Crew game which will take place after our game in order to play in this event. With the soccer community growing at the pace it has been, we feel very confident that we will meet and surpass this goal.”
Each ticket for the game costs $25 and counts toward both games. As of press time, the Crew were sitting at sixth place in the Eastern Division of the MLS at 29-18. They will need to climb into fifth place to earn a spot in the post season tournament. The Crew has several home games scheduled in August. They play Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 and play Los Angeles four days later on Aug. 15. Their final home game of the month is Aug. 25 against New England at 7:30 p.m. Then the Tigers and Ironmen will invade on Sept. 1.
Williamson is looking forward to the event as are his Tigers.
“This will be tremendous for not only my players but for the youth who will travel with us to the game and have the chance to walk on the pitch with my players for the pregame introductions,” said Williamson. “Waverly soccer has came a long way since its beginning in the late ’90s. For us to be able to hold a game at a top class facility like Crew Stadium has everyone really excited.”
The Tigers still have tickets to sell, so those who are interested in attending the event can purchase one through a player or other means.
“Currently we are still about 50 tickets short of reaching our goal. You can purchase tickets at the Pike County YMCA or at the Waverly High School office for $25 each. We are also taking donations for tickets for our youth,” said Williamson. “If you are unable to make it to this event but would like to help you can purchase a ticket to help a youth player be able to come and support the Tigers.”