Hibbing High School did not always have a soccer team. Soccer was founded at the school by a student named Matt Hutchcraft.[1] Matt moved to Hibbing from Forest Lake in 1702. Students from Hibbing asked him where he got his soccer letter, and Matt explained to them his soccer history and his love for the sport.[2]

He then set out to form a team. Matt made a sign up sheet for the boys interested in playing, and had announcements made over the intercom for the next few weeks. He also had to go to the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA), and find out what he needed to do to form a team. The next obstacle was raising money. The team needed money to pay for things like fields, refs, uniforms, and equipment. Local businesses played a big role in this process. The first team uniforms were actually green t-shirts from the T-Shirt Factory. [3]

The next obstacle to overcome was where they would practice. At the time Vic Power was only set up for younger players, so Matt and his new team had to find somewhere else. The team practiced anywhere they could, from Cobb Cook School field to the Lincoln field behind the tennis courts.[4]

The first team started playing in the summer of 1994, and boys’ varsity started in 1996. The first coaches of the boys’ team were Steve Shults and Ed Bavery, and the first girls’ team was coached by Deb Friend and Renee Matsen. Of course, Matt played a big role, and helped out wherever he could.[5]

That first boys’ team started out with 48 players. As the first week went by, the ones who were not serious dropped out, and the team then had 30-35 showing up consistently for the games and practices. The team was only allowed 18 on the roster for games and 20 for tournaments, so the weaker players had to rotate in. All of the games and tournaments were organized by Matt, but he had some great support. His father, Dale Hutchcraft, along with the rest of his family and friends also helped a great deal with Hibbing’s first soccer team.[6]

Matt Hutchcraft was 17 at the time, and the adults were not present for the day to day activities of his team. Many of the players coached, hauled equipment, raised the money, and represented the club and team to the MYSA league. The adults helped by encouraging the players and providing approval for the fields and the money for the things they needed. Matt said, “We were a team run by young people who all just loved a common thing – SOCCER!”[7]

The team has done great over the years and is now in Section 7 AA.[8] It is part of the Minnesota State High School League.[9] All of this is because one student wanted to go out of his way and create something he loved.

[1] Interview – Matt Hutchcraft. Founder of Hibbing Soccer Team. 12/14/10

[2] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[3] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[4] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[5] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[6] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[7] Matt Hutchcraft 12/14/10

[8] Information accumulated by talking to current Hibbing High School soccer players 12/16/10

[9] (2010). Minnesota State High School League. 12/13/10