Northwest boys soccer ‘Couch Crew’ creating lasting tradition

Local4 News at 10
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Have you ever seen a sofa on the sideline of a soccer game? Venture to Grand Island Northwest during the boys soccer season next year and you will find just that.

“It’s kind of like the trademark of the soccer games at Northwest,” said Caleb Pobanz, a graduating senior at Northwest and member of the lovingly-named “Couch Crew.”

The idea was created three years ago when a parent had a spare couch and wanted to drive more fan interest at the games.

“He had a couch at home and he thought, ‘If I bring this couch in we could probably get some kids coming to our games,’” Northwest boys soccer coach Ann Purdy said. “And, yes, when they see a couch kids will find it and sit on it.”

And it was an automatic hit.

“That’s really unique to have a student section on a couch,” said Cooper Garrett, a junior at Northwest and member of the Couch Crew. “A lot of people do know about the Couch Crew. It’s kind of become a staple for soccer and I look forward to it every year.”

“The couch crew is like the student section,” added Pobanz. “It’s like the VIP student section that helps support the team.”

The Vikings players feed off the increased student energy.

“Before we come into the games, there’s this little piece thing here that says Couch Crew,” Northwest graduating senior midfielder Jarit Mejia said. “Everyone just touches it before we go on to the field. Every single time we score and just look over to the Couch Crew and just see everyone going crazy is a nice feeling.”

“They’re loud, they’re engaged, it makes a fun atmosphere and it gets our guys pumped up,” Northwest boys soccer coach John Kenna added.

But one couch is not quite sufficient for the students’ efforts.

“Some of our players decided one couch wasn’t enough and they came up with two more,” Purdy said. “We had a triple-decker before the season was over.”

The Vikings achieved a program-best 14-4 record this last season and made it to the Class B State quarterfinals. The Couch Crew played a significant role in them getting there.

“It does take a community and without the help of the Couch Crew we might not have gone there a couple of years,” Purdy said. “It did its purpose. It got more kids coming to the games cheering, yelling.”

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