The regional club soccer tournament comes to Lubbock this weekend. Texas Tech University’s men’s and women’s teams will be facing off against colleges from all over, with the top two teams going to nationals in November.
According to the NIRSA Region IV South Tournament website, there will be a total of 20 teams competing in the regional tournament this year, with 12 men’s teams and eight women’s teams.
Matt Prewett, University of Texas at Austin’s men’s club soccer coach, has been coaching the team for 13 years.
“We want to come in and win regionals, that is our expectation every year,” Prewett said.
Prewett said it is difficult to travel such a long distance and immediately start playing. He said it is hard to keep the players focused with fresh legs to play a good game.
“Other teams are going to be traveling, too,” Prewett said. “Lubbock is in the middle of nowhere so I don’t think it puts us at a disadvantage to any of the other teams besides Tech.”
Prewett said there can be a home field advantage, since the home team is more familiar with the field. He said fans do not typically become a factor until the later rounds of the tournament.
Michael Wilson, president of Texas Tech’s men’s club soccer team, said he expects his team to at least make the finals this year.
“Our biggest home field advantage is our playing field,” Wilson said. “Our field is like concrete, and our players are already used to playing on it.”
Wilson said he knows from experience that traveling to play is difficult. He said it helps when the team can get there a day early to make sure to get a full nights rest before playing.
The team has been playing well the last two weeks, Wilson said. The team has many returning players and their chemistry is good.
Wilson said hopefully the team can come together to play their best game this weekend. He said he would love to get to the finals and show teams Texas Tech is a force to be reckoned with.
The match-ups and schedule is made by the league the teams play for, NIRSA. According to the NIRSA website, the tournament is pool play style, with the top teams facing off in elimination bracket play.
Laura Thomas, assistant director of intramurals, club sports and summer camps, said she loves working with sports clubs and their leaders.
Thomas said hosting the regional soccer tournament is a privilege. She said the last time Texas Tech hosted the tournament was in 2010.
“Not having to travel to play is a huge advantage,” Thomas said. “Sleeping in a hotel room crammed with ten other guys trying to save money is different from sleeping in your own bed.”
Games are scheduled so that teams will have time to get into town and leave town at a decent time, Thomas said, in an attempt to make sure travelers are safe.
“We want to showcase our university and its facilities this weekend,” Thomas said. “We want people to leave Lubbock with a good taste in their mouths.”