Shootout Draws Thousands
The first day of the second annual Piedmont Shootout travel soccer tournament at the Smith River Sports Complex attracted 3,000 to 4,000 people, according to SRSC director of operations Billy Russo and Piedmont Youth Soccer League director of coaching Enda Crehan.
"Everything is going great," Russo said. "All the comments have been very good on all sides that I've heard. There aren't any complaints. All the games are on time, which is really good."
The crowd included an unexpected number of local patrons who did not have a child in the tournament, SRSC director of marketing Kimberly Payne said, including some from as far away as North Carolina.
"We saw lots of local people who must have read about it or heard of it through our advertising who just came to watch, so that's really good," she said.
Russo added that there also were college coaches on hand to scout the players.
Of the nearly 70 teams at the tournament, Russo estimated that 30 of them are staying in hotels this weekend, including teams from as far away as West Virginia and South Carolina.
The Dutch Inn is the main hotel for the tournament, and its rooms are sold out, Russo said. He added that "I wouldn't doubt" that other hotels are also full.
Russo estimated that each out-of-town family may spend an average of $150 per day food, lodging and shopping. Estimating 16 players with families per team on 30 teams comes to a rough estimate of $72,000 funneled in from out-of-town tournament participants, by Russo's calculation.
The complex also made more money from concessions Saturday than they did in the two-day tournament last season, according to Russo. In addition, both the SRSC and PYSL are selling merchandise in the form of T-shirts, sweatshirts, and even the noise-making vuvuzelas that became famous with their frequent use at last summer's World Cup in South Africa.
"Everything's selling tip-top," said Crehan of the PYSL merchandise.
With none of the teams eliminated until tomorrow's playoff games, that means another infusion of funds for the complex, the PYSL and the surrounding community.
And, of course, there's the soccer, which from all accounts was high-quality under exceptional weather.
Said Crehan: "Everything went absolutely fantastic. All the teams are playing well, we had good results. The logistics have been perfect. The weather was great. It was just fantastic."