As the Portage Classic celebrates its 30th anniversary tournament, you might wonder how did it all come to be. Three individuals were instrumental in forming the Portage Soccer Club and its tournament. Pat and Maureen Norman moved to Portage in 1978 and as Pat is fond of saying “I saw AYSO was advertising $25 for the entire family to play.” With 8 children, he knew a bargain when he saw it. John Calnin was one of the founders of the Michigan Independent Soccer League (MISLE) and his three children loved soccer too.
Pat, Maureen, and John began the Portage Soccer Club in the mid- 1980’s and it was officially incorporated in 1988. John was elected its first president in 1989 and served 3 terms. He recalls that he ran unopposed each term.
The first Classic was July 18-19, 1987 and at that time, it was called “Portage City on the Grow.” A few years later, the name was changed to “Portage Invitational,” and it eventually became the “Portage Classic” that we know today. The first games were played at Ramona Park and the MISLE Complex (now the site of the PSC practice facility).
Over the years, Pat served as the Portage Central mens (1984-1998) and womens (1986-2014) varsity coach. The women’s 2000 and 2009 teams both won state championships in division 1. Pat was honored as the 2000 National Soccer Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was elected in 2014 to the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame. Though Pat retired from high school soccer in 2014, the coaching bug returned and he is currently an assistant coach with the PSC 02 boys white team.
John served as the Tournament Director for many years and was a founding member of the United Soccer Foundation, the capital campaign that raised monies for the development of the Portage Soccer and River Oaks Soccer Complexes. John is one of the PSC volunteers who continues to mow the soccer fields every week and serves as a field marshall for the Classic Tournament.
The Portage Soccer Club and the Classic Tournament honors its founders. Thank you for the legacy of Portage Soccer you built.