All of the US Youth Soccer Region III Championship games had finally ended.
What was a bustling facility welcoming thousands of soccer parents, coaches and players from all reaches of the southern U.S. only a few days before looked barren Friday.
There were no more whistles blowing, no parents screaming, no athletes cheering after scoring a coveted goal.
With the BREC Burbank Soccer complex cleared of its many out-of-town guests, tournament director Don Bohnet said the overall tournament experience went smoothly.
Bohnet said it took a village to ensure the tournament ran efficiently.
Everyone on staff, from medical to the sheriff’s department to the referees, had radios and phones ready to use at all times, making communication a primary factor.
“The structure that we have with the tournament committee working with the local group paid huge dividends to make sure everything went well,” Bohnet said. “It was the ideal meshing of technology with online information as well as our ability to blitz with email blasts to keep people informed.”
The Burbank Soccer Complex was no stranger to such an experience — the facility also hosted the Regional Championships in 2010.
Using the lessons learned from four years ago, the staff tried to mend any issues that previously plagued the event.
Bohnet said there weren’t too many obstacles during the week-long tournament, though he admitted the areas available for food could have been more spaced out throughout the park.
His main challenge for the tournament involved the thousands in attendance. High temperatures and plenty of sunlight created hydration issues for both players and parents.
“People who come to the South fail to recognize the hydration preparations that they need to do,” Bohnet said. “I’ve assured that with my referee coordinator that they need to work on both what’s appropriate for hydration as well as having the correct nutrition.”
Luckily for the tournament staff, rain only threatened on the final two days of competition. Bohnet said the staff always had clear communication in case weather became an issue.
“We had the good fortune of having contact with a local meteorologist, Jake Ryans,” Bohnet said, “who helped us coordinate more so on the weather forecasting to make sure that, when we did have weather, we were minimally impacted.”
Back in April, the playing fields needed an overhaul and the Baton Rouge park group worked to get the complex ready for the constant wear from the players’ cleats.
The tournament staff kept a watchful eye on the fields throughout the Regional Championships, and Bohnet said they all held up despite the seven straight days of competition.
Overall, Bohnet said Baton Rouge again proved itself as a solid host, and it left a positive mark for a potential return to the complex in future years.
“I think Baton Rouge (will) to continue to do big events and host things,” Bohnet said. “But at the complex here, everything worked well. The place, the location and the space that they have, they’ve got a great deal.”