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Grant Traylor: Many deserve credit for success of Region I Championships

Jul. 08, 2010 @ 12:18 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- After an exciting week of action at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, I had to take a few hours and catch my breath.

I now know that at 26, I am nowhere near in the shape that I used to be after running from field to field to catch all the action possible during the week-long festivities.

Now that I have my wind back, I'd like to take time to say thank you to those who made the event such a success. It's a good thing that I did catch my breath because so many people made the tournament happen.

To Len Rogers and Dave Laraba of the West Virginia Soccer Association, thank you for your vision for the game of soccer.

Your visions enabled the tournament to come to Barboursville in the first place, and whether Tri-State citizens are soccer fans or not, the tournament positively affected this area from an economic, social and entertainment standpoint.

It truly was a privilege to enjoy this experience with you and watch first-hand as your dreams became reality.

Next, to the volunteers.

Despite conditions that were extremely difficult given the heat, you dedicated yourselves to making sure that everything ran according to plan.

Whether it was a parking attendant, a field marshal or concession worker, the tournament does not succeed without you.

Next, to Marshall University, the city of Barboursville and the YMCA Kennedy Center.

The operations personnel are the behind-the-scenes heroes of such as tournament as this one. When they are doing their job well, they go unnoticed.

Now, it's your turn to be noticed.

To the US Youth Soccer personnel -- namely Shannon Holtz and Susan Rust -- thank you for all you did for the media personnel on hand. You went above and beyond what anyone could've asked of you.

And last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to the players, coaches and parents.

Without your dedication and love for the game, there would be no tournament. Also, from a personal view, without your willingness to share your experiences, there would be no stories to share with the world.

It's the collaboration of all these different types of people coming together that enables dreams to come true.

Especially in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.

ONE MORE THANK YOU: To Mark and Patrick Conley, thank you for not chiding an ignorant reporter (yours truly) when he didn't quite fully understand the circumstances surrounding a situation and made a poor attempt at a joke.

Grant Traylor is a sports writer for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached at gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com or (304) 526-2759.