The Iowa girls state soccer tournament is heading west.
The board of directors of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union selected Des Moines’ James W. Cownie Soccer Park as the new home of the event at a meeting Wednesday.
The Cownie Soccer Park will serve as the host venue for the 2013, ’14 and ’15 tournaments. The city of Muscatine had been the site of Iowa girls soccer’s premier competition since the IGHSAU sanctioned the sport in 1998.
The IGHSAU also reviewed host proposals from Muscatine and the Cedar Valley Sports Commission.
“We are pleased to bring the girls state soccer tournament to Des Moines,” said Mike Dick, executive director of the IGHSAU. “This was an extremely difficult decision. Muscatine and Cedar Valley both have outstanding soccer venues.
“However, I have been impressed with the many improvements that have been made at the Cownie Soccer Park. It is a top-notch soccer facility and will be a great venue for state tournament teams and their fans.”
The move will drastically cut down travel time for western Iowa schools. Qualifiers from this spring like Glenwood and St. Albert drove nearly five hours to reach Muscatine. Des Moines, conversely, is a two-hour trip.
The Cownie Soccer Park has 12 soccer fields and is already home to the boys state tournament. The four fields that will be utilized during the state tournament have lights, and the championship field has bleacher seating for 2,000 people along with a press box. Another field seats 750 people.
The park has undergone $1.8 million in renovations that include 12 completely rebuilt fields, new drainage, irrigation and sports turf sod. It serves as the home venue for the Drake and Grand View University soccer teams.
Cownie Park also has hosted the Missouri Valley Conference women’s soccer championships, along with NAIA men’s and women’s soccer championships.