With an astounding, and surprising to many, showing in the World Cup by the USA, all eyes were on their round-of-16 loss to Belgium Tuesday afternoon.
But even with the close 2-1 loss, Chris Mitchell, director of West Baton Rouge Youth Soccer, has high hopes that the excitement over the successes of the U.S. National Soccer Team in the FIFA World Cup will translate into a surge in registration for the upcoming registration in the WBR Youth Soccer League.
“I’ve been coaching for more years than I can remember,” Mitchell said. “I’ve always seen a spike in interest in youth soccer after the World Cup. Hopefully this year the interest will transfer to our league, which would be fantastic.”
Mitchell took the helm of WBR Soccer last year when it was passed down to him from John Windham, who ran the league since its conception. Since the beginning, the league has seen a continual increase in registration each season, which includes both a fall and a spring season.
Mitchell said that registration from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 went up 40 percent, which he said he believes was due to periodic emails that the league began sending out the previous summer. They also lowered the age requirement for children to sign up from four- to three-years-old.
The Spring 2013 season, according to Mitchell, saw a phenomenal registration increase of 130 percent. Mitchell said he believes that there was such a large increase in numbers because they started and ended the season before the spring youth baseball and softball games began.
“I think with no baseball conflicts, more kids decided to do both,” Mitchell said.
Last week WBR Soccer hosted a summer outdoor camp at the Port Allen Soccer Fields and next week will host an indoor camp at the Perkins Road Sports Complex in Baton Rouge. The camp runs from July 7-10, and serves kids from ages 4 to 14. Registration is still open at www.teensportsplex.net.
In addition to the youth recreation league, Mitchell also directs the Capital City United competitive league, a league for ages 10-18 who are interested in playing competitively at a higher level than the local recreational league. United players travel around South Louisiana to play other competitive travel teams.
Mitchell said that the United program begins with the Under-10 team, which serves as an introduction to the competitive program. Athletes play their regular season games in the local recreational league and then go to the competitive tournament to play teams from other areas.
Mitchell said that true competitive play begins at the Under-11 stage and continues all the way through high school to the Under-18 team. Players must try out for the United teams, which hold their tryouts in May and June. Capital City teams play under the Louisiana Competitive Soccer League (LCSL), which includes teams from the Lafayette, New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas. They compete in a state tournament each spring.
Registration for this fall’s West Baton Rouge Youth Soccer season, for players age 3-14, begins July 7 and will run through August 22. League play will begin September 13 and run through October.
Mitchell said that they will be wrapping up the season with the first ever Fall Fest Tournament where he will invite teams from all over Baton Rouge to come to the Port Allen Soccer Fields to play teams from West Baton Rouge.
For information on both the WBR Youth Soccer League and Capital City United competitive soccer and to register for the Fall 2014 WBR Youth Soccer season, visit www.capitalcityunited.com.