FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) It took a lot of work to get Fort Wayne Sport Club ready for the Shindigz National Soccer Festival on Friday. Pumps starting running early Friday morning after an overnight storm flooded the complex.
“We’ve had our challenges over the years, different things, like weather like this. This is soccer, soccer fans are robust and hearty folks, so the games are going on as scheduled. The fields are really in pretty good shape. They’re all dry, and there is no standing water on them,” Operations Manager for Shindigz Festival, Mike Roeth said.
While players will be able to continue the festival on the field, event organizers have had to make some changes to bring people to the games. The areas where people would park at the club are flooded. Buses are picking up fans at the Burlington Coat Factory on Ardmore and Illinois and driving them about a mile to the festival. .
To clean up the flooding, the organization has installed pumps around the area that are dumping water into make-shift retention ponds in the front of the complex.
““The Fort Wayne Sport Club has been here for almost 90 years and water has been an issue for some of these sort of youth tournaments in the past. They’ve put in place in the last few years some new pumping strategy here. It’s really pretty scientific the plan that they have here by pumping in different regions and so forth, so we’re well on our way of getting it done,” Roeth said.
Organizers said this isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with this problem.
“Believe it or not, we’ve seen worse and we fixed it. We’ve got it drained, and we’re working on it. We’ll get it down. We can’t control the rain, so we’ve got to control the other end of it. We’ll deal with it, that’s what we do,” Fort Wayne Sport Club volunteers Chet Proegler and Ken Alderman said.
Organizers are also planning ahead in case there is more rain and flooding.
“If there is more rain, we’ll adjust the plan. The likely first steps that we would do would be to limit some of the high school games and focus on the college games,” Roeth said.
Organizers recommend fans give themselves extra time getting to the festival. It runs through Saturday night.
“These are challenging times when you have something like this hit you, but it’s not anything you can really plan for. So it’s all about the team here at the Fort Wayne Sport Club and the team at the Shindigz National Soccer Festival to work together to bring on a festival, the kind of festival that over these fifteen years people have come to expect and we’ll do that today and tomorrow.”
As they say, rain or shine, the festival must go on.
“Soccer is something that’s played really in all weather. Short of lightning and the really cold snow and ice, games will be played. So, that’s sort of in the nature of soccer and this festival just takes that on,” Roeth said.