GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - The sport of soccer is quickly growing in Ascension Parish. More than 1,500 kids play, including 300 who play competitively, and they are about to have a new field to call their home turf.
Lamar Dixon is the future site of what Ascension Parish leaders hope will soon become a multi-purpose sports field. Gonzales Soccer Club Coaching director, Bobby Capewell, says it's a big deal for hundreds of kids who play the sport and their parents.
"Right now, we work out of four soccer fields," said Capewell.
The grounds at Lamar Dixon are being reworked for a large, outdoor sports complex that will be home to seven soccer fields. Parish President Kenny Matassa says the $4.5 million investment will host regional tournaments, and when it's not booked for play, it will be used for outdoor events. He hopes it will mean big returns for the parish's bottom line.
"You got all these hotels in Ascension, mainly Gonzales, and they are filled all during the week because workers work in the plants. So on the weekend, when this facility is in use, those rooms will be filled for the weekend," said Matassa.
That means a lot more people will get a taste of what the parish and the sport have to offer. Capewell says 1,500 kids are already signed up, and he expects a whole lot more to take the field this fall.
"It's much higher profile area than what we've been in over there, in the Expo Center, a lot more people are going to see it. It's an exciting time to be a part of the soccer community in Gonzales," said Capewell.
Click here to learn more about the Gonzales Soccer Club.
Also at Lamar Dixon, $350,000 in upgrades have been made to the Ascension Gym. It's now home to two full-sized regulation basketball and volleyball courts with brand new floors. The facility will also be used for kids' camps and is the primary shelter in emergency disasters. The gym was initially revamped so that students in flooded schools would have a place to practice.