Thirty-four years ago, the Kansas State club soccer lost one of its faithful.
Ed Chartrand, or “Fast Eddy” as he was dubbed by teammates, died from a sudden, unexpected illness the day before his graduation from K-State in 1979. Though more than three decades have passed since his death, his story and his memory are alive today in the heart of K-State’s soccer community.
Beginning tonight at 6, the K-State men and women’s club soccer teams will host the 34th Annual Ed Chartrand Memorial Soccer Tournament and carry on the tradition of remembering “Fast Eddy.”
“I was on the first team to play in this tournament,” said Art Chartrand, Ed’s brother and 1980 K-State graduate. “My brother and I played at K-State together for two years and I think what means the most to me are the students who still carrying it on today.”
After his brother’s death, Chartrand knew he wanted to do something that would continue Ed’s memory at K-State. By using soccer, one of Ed’s greatest passions, Chartrand started the Ed Chartrand Memorial Soccer Tournament.
Today, the tournament is almost completely student-run. After graduating from K-State, Chartrand earned his law degree at the University of Kansas and now works as an attorney in Lenexa. While he always makes the trip back to Manhattan to take part in the tournament, the men and women’s captains do all the planning before the event.
“There are a lot of different teams coming to play,” said women’s team captain Morgan Velez. “We’ve coordinated fields, referees, teams, t-shirts and money. It is really great to see all of our hard work come to life when the tournament is in full force.”
Every year soccer teams from different colleges around the Midwest travel to Manhattan to compete in the tournament. Teams from the KU, Saint Louis, Manhattan Christian College, Creighton, McPherson College and Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State, Truman State and Emporia State will all be part of the three-day event.
“We are the highest level of soccer at K-State, and the men’s team, we went undefeated this fall,” men’s captain Andrew Drumm said. “The tournament is always a great time. The student support gets riled up, but at the same time, it’s a great family event.”
Last year, the K-State club soccer added a new dynamic to the tournament and partnered with Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division. From helping setting up tables, to displaying the colors before the opening kick, the Fort Riley soldiers showed up ready to cheer on K-State’s soccer teams.
This year, soldiers from Fort Riley will be back in action, ready for a weekend full of soccer. For Chartrand, having the soldiers back at Memorial Stadium reminds him of the tournament’s early days.
“I’m very proud of our relationship with Fort Riley,” he said. “Over the years, we would invite their teams to play in the tournaments, and last year was kind of the rebirth of that. They’ve done great things with us in the past and I’m looking forward to an even better future.”
There were only three teams in the competition at the first Ed Chartrand Memorial Tournament in 1979, and the Fort Riley soccer team was one of them.
Tonight’s events will kick off with the women’s team taking on Manhattan Christian College. The K-State men will also play tonight against KU at 7:30.
“Soccer was a game he loved,” Chartrand said about his brother. “He was fast, he excelled at it and he was proud of it. K-State’s club soccer teams today care about carrying this tournament on, and that’s what would have really made my brother happy.
“They’re playing soccer because they love soccer, not for the glory and fame, but because they love the sport, and that’s what makes me the most proud.”