Ice Breaker soccer tournament attracts 200 teams

Ice Breaker soccer tournament, Staheli Family Farm, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 17, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — This time of year, soccer players, coaches and fans are looking for some good weather and some open fields to shake the rust of a long winter off and southern Utah provides a little bit of both.

The Ice Breaker Soccer Tournament, held at Staheli Family Farm 3400 Washington Fields Road in Washington City, began on Saturday and continued all day on Monday. The tournament attracted 200 teams, mostly from northern Utah and surrounding states.

The Ice Breaker tournament included boys and girls ages 9-18. It was a non-sanctioned tournament, meaning that the event was not sponsored by the Southern Utah Soccer Association or any other soccer association.

The tournament director and organizer is Rob Horn from Riverton, Utah, who took over the event in 2008. The tourney has been held at Staheli Farm for three years and has grown from 70 teams six years ago to 200 teams this year, Horn said. “The nice thing about this venue is it is all in one location, the field conditions could be a little better, but for the most part it’s nice,” he said.

In addition to about 10 teams from southern Utah, Horn estimates that 95 percent of the teams are from out-of-town, coming from Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona and northern Utah.

Of all sports, soccer has the largest number of participants in southern Utah and all of Utah and it’s the fastest growing sport, Washington City soccer mom Melanie Stephens said. There were 300 new participants that signed up for various soccer teams in Washington County between the spring and fall seasons last year, she said.

Stephens who has four sons, three of whom play soccer, was at the tournament watching her 10-year-old son compete. Soccer is appealing to many families because it is one of the cheapest sports to participate in, with registration fees of about $80 compared to about $500 for football, Stephens said. She credits soccer and other sports for helping her kids maintain good grades and keeping them active and out of trouble.

Amanda Brown, 38 of Draper, was at the tournament for the first time watching her 10-year-old daughter Sadie compete with team Chaos. Brown was a little concerned about the field being uneven with some holes and the girls have fallen more than normal, she said. Brown estimates that they would normally spend $800-$1000 in lodging and food for the trip to St. George to attend this type of event.

Jesse and Heidi Conway from Spanish Fork were at the tournament to watch their 11-year-old son Matthew compete. They are also here to watch their 13-year-old son Noah compete in baseball. The Conway’s like the fact that the soccer tournament is all in one place, whereas baseball is in several different venues. “The fields are a little more uneven than we are used to, it gives the boys a chance to have a little character, to run and dodge the cow pucky’s,” he said.

Ned Heaton, 39 of St. George was at the tournament to watch his 10-year-old son Bridger compete with team Fire FC. Heaton, who has also coached soccer, said the venue for the tournament is the best option that they have right now. “St. George has just never promoted soccer. I think they are in love with baseball, so whoever makes the decisions is not a soccer person,” he said.

Jenny Corbett from Salt Lake City, has two daughters, age 10 and 13 competing. In addition to the tournament, she has enjoyed getting together with her parents and family members who came from California. Although the field is a “little rough,” Corbett has enjoyed the event and the get-a-way to St. George for the weekend.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Ice Breaker soccer tournament, Staheli Family Farm, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 17, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Ice Breaker soccer tournament, Staheli Family Farm, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 17, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News


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  • Ken February 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    This article just proves if you whine loud enough STG News will bow and then even quote you even after you have lambasted them for their lack of coverage. I find it very telling and sad!

    • Joyce Kuzmanic February 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Actually, Ken, we listen to suggestions that come to us through many different avenues and try to look beyond the tone and see if we might follow them where they lead. If you have anything, bring it and we’ll consider it.

      • Ken February 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

        Thanks for the response I have nothing more to add!

  • Kristin Schwiermann February 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Wow awesome! Now lets look at the real facts here….Mesquite has a 3 weekend soccer tournament and makes a whole lot of money. We have CRAPPY fields, oh wait NO fields….This wasn’t the only tournament…Red Rock tournament played this weekend. Of course we had the high school fields. Thank goodness because if I was a parent of a child playing in this tournament and came all the way to beautiful Saint George I would be pissed!! I came all they way here to a farm field to play on? Nothing against the Staheli’s….They are great to put this on. But these two cities Saint George and Washington need to build soccer fields. Soccer is a growing sport…It has grown way above baseball and softball and look at the fields that they play on….The kids here play on uneven badly taken care of patches of grass. St. George wake up and smell the money!!!!

    • Ken February 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Kristin since there is so much money to be made then why doesn’t a private entity invest and make it happen. I would think if it is as lucrative as you state them someone would have done it. If it is the city holding this up then vote out the people holding it up. The citizens of St George voted and the only thing it did was change the figurehead, the man who controls the city is still controlling. We need less government not more!!

  • Washfields February 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I’d love for the soccer fields down the road to be finished so the 200 plus teams wouldn’t kick up so much dirt into my backyard.

  • swimswim February 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    The soccer fields at Staheli Farms are atrocious. They should be turned back over to the cows! It’s due time for a soccer complex in St George!! Hotels, restaurants, shops, etc would all benefit from many soccer tournaments with 200+ teams coming to play. Come on St George invest in a soccer complex!!! You won’t regret it!!

  • Melanie February 19, 2014 at 1:14 am

    It’s nice to see the news cover 1 of the 3 tournaments that happened over this President’s Day weekend. The coverage is but a crumb of the whole. I’m astonished that Ken would think my “loud whine” would elicit any sort of response from the news. I’m simply a mother who cares.
    Frankly, this article doesn’t address the main problem I expressed when interviewed. My issue is with the appropriation of our tax dollars. In regard to Parks and Recreation, money should be allocated to facilities that serve the greatest needs of our community. They shouldn’t be closed door agreements or pet projects. Our leaders are elected to serve the community not themselves. This is my biggest complaint. Our hands are tied. Every effort that has been made, has been rejected.
    There were 2 additional SOCCER tournaments this weekend. Notice the location of the “Utah” President’s Cup, it’s located in Mesquite, N.V. The tournament was so large, it had to be spread over 3 weekends. Please look into them more

    Presidents Cup 2014 – location Mesquite, N.V.
    Date: January 16-20 (U12 – U17 boys)
    January 24-25 (U9-U11 girls and boys) Guaranteed 3 games
    February 13-17 (U12- U17 girls)

    Southern Utah Red Rock Invitational- location St. George, Utah
    February 14th, 15th and 17th

    First and foremost, we do not have fields to accommodate our communities soccer needs. Tournaments are wonderful and provide an economic boost but should be the “perk” of having a facility to use. I believe catering to events before community is wrong.
    Let me be clear. Soccer is the largest, actively participated sport in So. Utah– that has NO dedicated facility.
    Our first league games start this coming Saturday and we still do not know where we will be playing. Our league is considering the use of the soccer complex in Mesquite, NV.
    It was not my intention to be “quoted”, nor was it to have one tournament covered. My purpose is to make people aware of the vast footprint soccer has within our community. It is the only sport, that I am aware of– that has to fight for a place to play. Our use of High School football fields to play soccer is absurd. It is unfair to the football, rugby and lacrosse teams to have to share. It is also unfair to the soccer teams. It is not right for soccer to be rejected in every capacity.
    The “Ice Breaker” soccer tournament took place at Staheli Farm. This news article was to kind when describing the condition of the fields. I witnessed a referee mid-game tumble and fall to the ground. I saw numerous elderly people trip and fall. My family returned home daily with shoes caked in poop. My son and I had multiple asthma attacks due to the proximity of the farm animals to the fields.
    Rob Horn, is the Ice Breaker tournament director and organizer. I spoke with Rob, days before the tournament. He is an individual who has the time, money and desire to build a private soccer complex here in St. George. Rob explained, the only thing that destroyed his ability to build a soccer complex, out by the new airport was the “City”. Please fact check with Rob. Check out this website, . He built indoor and outdoor turf fields with private money– the money he planned to use building fields in St. George.
    If anyone believes I am misrepresenting facts, please look into my claims. I am a reasonable person and will retract any claim I have made– if you can prove it to be false.

    • kristin schwiermann February 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Thank you so much for sticking up for the soccer community!….The Staheli have gone out of their way to offer their farm for the kids….I don’t live in Saint George, but Washington Fields so I don’t vote for those who are on that community counsel. The Staheli’s would work on their field but are not going to do it all alone for one weekend a year….And they did their best to provide. I hope Rob will still fight for the Soccer Complex as we need it badly!…Thanks for your support Melanie!

  • Bub's evil twin February 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I would love to see a private individual build some soccer fields for profit. Problem is that land prices are very expensive and that makes it a losing proposition. Tax payers that are not in love with soccer as some of the posters are may not be willing to put their money into more fields that sit empty 90% of the time. Kudos to the Stahelis for their efforts.

  • Rae February 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Third year attending the Icebreaker with two kids. This will be our last. The fields seem to get smaller and smaller and really, having 18 year old boys play 25 minutes halves, the same as a 12 year old girls, ridiculous! Many parents were frustrated with this even though we did find out shortly before coming to the tournament that game times would be very short. Field conditions were poor, but I’ve actually seen my kids play on worse when traveling to places like Vernal and Tooele. I would like to see less fields, which mean less teams, but fields would be descent size (sometime it seemed like it was a goalie to goalie game with the older kids being able to kick so far) and at least 40 min. halves for the older kids. I was glad to see that when teams went to championship they did get 40 min halves. As always though it is nice to head south and get some warmer weather in St. George. Next time I think we will be trying the Red Rocks tournament.

  • Robert February 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I returned from the tournament this week and I’m glad to be able to respond. It was fun to be able to watch all the games that were going on. I had a good time. I was a little frustrated at a few games where the refs would not allow spectators to sit on the same side as the players. I know this is FIFA rules but it doesn’t work at such a large tournament and so many spectators. My other complaint was the length of games. For the older players 25 minutes is just not enough time. If you want to do this make it an 8 v 8 tournament. With such short fields and short games its just not enough time to get into a good rhythm. The advantage of this format made it possible to know when all your children were playing , since games were mostly starting and ending at the same time, however, this does not work for older players. Lastly, whats up with the kids not getting Tee shirts. I myself have attended numerous sporting tournaments. I have played on championship teams many times. When I won the best rewards were Tee shirts, sweat shirts. or balls. When one particular tournament finally started giving tee shirts for just playing the tournament actually grew. But giving the kids little back packs. Lets get serious! Give them all tee shirts just to come to the tournament!!! If they win give them all balls or something like that. Medals and trophies are so 1970’s. Give the kids something they can use and want.

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