Matthew Pryor, VP of Youth for Ascension Flight Soccer Club (formerly Gonzales Soccer Club), was scheduled to appear before the Parish Council Finance Committee on Tuesday. According to the agenda, anyway:
(5) Gonzales Soccer Association Report (Matt Pryor, Gonzales Soccer)
Instead it was Executive Director Bobby “English Bob” Capewell who came before a worked up committee to discuss participation numbers without any information about financial matters.
After all, this was a meeting of Finance, i.e. not the Recreation Committee where one would have reasonably expected a rundown of soccer tournaments held at seven new fields at Lamar Dixon Expo Center.
Capewell was fed to the wolves, none snarling more angrily than Donaldsonville Councilman Oliver Joseph who took issue with Ascension Flight’s failure to reach out to potential soccer enthusiasts on the west bank. Offering platitudinous praise for Ascension Flight’s healthy participation rates, “hovering around 1,450” players over the last few years, Joseph would shift gears and bore in.
“All on the east side, correct? I recall y’all, sitting right where you’re at right now, saying you were going to reach out to the west bank. How many times you been over to the west bank?” the District 1 councilman queried the Englishman whose distinctive accent masked his futility. (What makes the English manner so delightful to the ear?).
“Not once in two years,” Joseph answered his own question seeming to regret his vote to approve “the $5 million soccer fields.”
A few of his colleagues focused on the actual finances. When the Council approved the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with (then) Gonzales Soccer Club, the sales pitch to Ascension Parish included significant revenues flowing back into the public coffer.
In August 2017 the club was assisted by Lamar Dixon’s General Manager. GM Kyle Rogers touted the potential revenues generated by corporate sponsorship and President Kenny Matassa, making a second appearance in two days after a two month hiatus, backed his play. The Club’s similar agreement with the City of Gonzales included paying for improvements to the city’s facilities during Matassa’s 19-year tenure on the City Council.
One day earlier, at a Special Meeting of the Travis Turner-chaired Recreation Committee, Rogers predicted $350,000 in annual marketing revenue; $180,000 generated by advertising signs, $70,000 in naming rights for seven fields, and $100,000 for some sponsor to slap its logo on the complex. The club agreed to maintain the fields, in return for which it was granted control of use.
Executive Director Capewell could not address actual revenue generation though he did explain Ascension Flight’s maintenance of the fields. Councilman Aaron Lawler, an ardent aficionado of “the beautiful game” and resident Council apologist for the club’s unfulfilled projections, tried to rehab the shortcomings. He assured that 80% of all revenues, if there are any, “goes back to the Recreation Department.”
Where is Matthew Pryor when you need him (not often one can ask that question)?