Soccerfest a kick once again

Matt+Schutzius%2C+senior+in+LAS%2C+grills+hot+dogs+to+be+given+away+at+the+Soccerfest+on+Sunday.+Taylor+Johnson%0A

Taylor Johnson

Matt Schutzius, senior in LAS, grills hot dogs to be given away at the Soccerfest on Sunday. Taylor Johnson

By Cody Westerlund

Sunday’s women’s soccer game featured the annual Soccerfest and marked the beginning of homecoming week at Illinois. The event did not disappoint, as a crowd of 2,036 fans, the second-most to ever see a soccer game at Illinois Track and Soccer Stadium, watched their Illini come away with a 1-0 win against Michigan.

The event included free admission to the game and free food in the form of hot dogs, chips and soda. There was also a pregame performance by “The Other Guys,” a campus a capella group. But it was the atmosphere that had so many families coming out.

“It’s good family entertainment and the women’s soccer team is great this year, so we wanted to get over here and cheer them on,” said Brett Dowling of St. Joseph, who brought his 6-year-old daughter along.

Tony Banks, of Savoy, Ill., attended his first Illinois soccer game earlier this season with his daughter and did not want to miss Soccerfest.

“My daughter started playing organized soccer last year, and my boys have played soccer and are very interested, so we thought we’d all come out and make it a family day,” Banks said. “It’s a great atmosphere, you couldn’t ask for much better and the weather is perfect.”

Despite the Illini winning their 13th consecutive home match, the inflatable games might have been the biggest hit amongst the kids. There was a big slide and also a bounce house, both of which were consistently full.

Nine-year-old Austyn Graham of Mahomet, Ill., was at the game with his family and said although he likes watching soccer, his favorite part of the day was going down the slide. His mother, Bridget, added that she thought watching the game would also help make Austyn better as a player.

Eight-year-old Brodey Kramer of Tuscola, Ill., would probably agree with young Austyn.

“I like sliding on my belly the best,” Kramer said of the inflatable slide.