Nevada ready to get the ball rolling on soccer season: Sport’s return brings excitement to community

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Mayzi Weig and Jose Buenrrostro are thrilled to get the chance to lead the Nevada soccer teams in 2021. Both teams are eyeing the state tournament after missing out on 2020 due to COVID-19.

About a year ago, Nevada student Jose Buenrrostro was out getting a few shooting and dribbling drills in with a few of his boys’ soccer teammates at Harrington Park in Nevada when they received bad news. 

The 2020 spring sports season was going to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About a month later the season was officially canceled, robbing the Nevada boys of their dream of reaching state for the second time in three years. 

“I didn’t have anything to say,” Buenrrostro said. “As soon as we knew what was going on, we were just devastated. I was hoping to get out there and play the sport I love.” 

The members of the Nevada girls’ team felt the same way. 

“I was heartbroken,” Nevada junior Mayzi Weig said. “Soccer is one of my favorite sports.” 

For nearly three decades, soccer has been a source of great pride for Nevada.  

From the days of Harv Bainter shouting out instructions in his gruff voice to the boys on their way to winning the 2000 Class 1A state championship to current girls’ head coach Randy Davis and his assistant Justin Evans yelling out "well done!" after another good play, soccer has had a grip on Nevada. 

The purple and yellow shirts worn by the Cub faithful have been a constant staple at both state soccer tournaments over the years. In addition to the boys’ state championship, the girls have back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015. 

It was tough on everyone to have the sport taken away last spring. 

“Being able to play is huge for the kids, families, coaches and community supporters,” Nevada head boys’ coach Todd Sampson said. “That was the first time in my life that a high school sports season has ever been canceled for any reason and it was surreal living through it.” 

In June the state of Iowa gave everyone hope by allowing baseball and softball to compete. It was a success. 

The fall and winter seasons soon followed. Now everything has gone full circle with the return of spring sports. 

“If I had to quantify how important it has been for the kids at Nevada Community School District to have the opportunity to learn in the classroom and participate in every extra-curricular activity, this year it would definitely be an 11 on a scale of 10,” Sampson said. “The experiences, relationships and memories that are made in high school are important in a young person's growth. The school district did a great job of providing the opportunities.” 

Buenrrostro, Weig, Sampson and the rest of the Nevada soccer community couldn’t be more excited to start competing again. 

“Just being out there is going to be the best thing,” Buenrrostro said. “It’s definitely going to be an amazing feeling.” 

There will be some hurdles for both teams to overcome. 

They must continue to abide by COVID safety protocols. On the field the players need to get used to playing together and learn new formations after a long layoff. 

There will also be a big learning curve for the younger players. 

“Our biggest challenge is we have a lot of upcoming freshmen,” Weig said. “We’ve been trying during practice to unite with them to build that team chemistry. It’s hard, but we just have to communicate a lot and use practices to our advantage.” 

Buenrrostro is a senior this year. He’s taken it upon himself to help get the freshmen and sophomores caught up. 

“I get to share what I know with those younger guys,” Buenrrostro said. “I want to inspire those younger kids to be better and then carry that on to the future teams.” 

Sampson likes where his team is at after the first week of practice. 

“We are in the process of ironing out all the technical stuff, but that will come with time,” Sampson said. “I just enjoy seeing the growth and improvement from day to day.  I think we will be a fun team to watch this year.” 

The Nevada girls are also looking strong. Weig, Tessa Borwick, Erin Coogler, Kayla Dunson, Tessa Borwick, Hannah Thomsen, Hannah Fritz, Savannah Skaggs, Aubrey Gibson, Alexandria Arnaud and Addi Vorm all made contributions on the 2019 team that qualified for state. 

“We have a lot of returners – that helps a lot with that chemistry,” Weig said. “A lot of my teammates and myself are hard workers and willing to put in that effort to do whatever to get to state.” 

But for right now the focus is on being ready to step out on the field for the first time. The Cub boys host Ballard for their opener on Thursday and the girls host Collins-Maxwell April 5. 

“I’m just looking forward to winning our first game and just being able to play with everyone,” Weig said. “I’m gonna have a big smile on my face.”