The Nebraska Shrine Soccer Classic has been canceled for this year, but a high school soccer coach in Omaha has quickly organized a different all-star match.
The Shrine Soccer Classic is an all-star match that has been played for 25 years. For many years it was in Hastings, and for the past five years in Omaha, including last year’s match at Creighton University. Some years the match was played the week after the Shrine football game.
Usually this is about the time of year that the rosters for the teams were announced. But in April, some high school coaches got an email from Drew Rodehorst, who has helped organize the match for the Shrine, saying the match was canceled for this year, but they hope to resume it next year.
Jane Elam, the girls soccer coach at Millard South who has been one of the coaches for the Shrine match several times, decided to try to organize a new match to allow for an opportunity for some of the best high school players to still play in an all-star match.
“When I got the email I just felt like it was an important event, and a really important thing for kids to be showcased at,” Elam said.
In just a few weeks, Elam was able to organize a new match. That match will be called the Nebraska High School Soccer Senior Showcase. The match will be on June 8 at Bellevue West High School. The girls match is at 11 a.m., and the boys match at 1:30 p.m.
Elam is a teacher at Millard South and also works part-time for Special Olympics Nebraska, which is helping to put on the match and will be the beneficiary.
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The coaches were told that because of changes in the Shrine organization, it was not possible to have a Shrine match this year. Elam asked for permission to proceed with organizing a new match.
The process for choosing the teams will be similar to the Shrine match. Coaches could nominate two players from their team, and the coaches who volunteer to coach the teams in the match are helping pick the teams.
Elam hopes to be able to announce the players by late next week. She’s planning for about 22 players for each team.
For the Shrine match, the teams usually arrived the day before the match and had a few practices and a banquet, but this year the teams won't practice before the senior showcase match.
The coaches for the boys match will include Chris Simley from Lincoln Northeast, Alexis Pacheco from Ralston and Nick Bratt from Omaha Burke.
The girls coaches will include Jason Moore (Omaha Bryan), Jim Ageton (Lincoln Southeast), Digger Hawkins (Gretna) and Jordan Miller (Lutheran High Northeast).