ELLERY - After spending a sweltering day in July last year on the field in the middle of some fast-paced youth soccer action as a referee, Lou Golando opted this time around for a role that, though still central to the tournament's success, calls for more of his work to take place behind the scenes.
That role? Tournament director.
And while this marks the first year that Golando will be running the Bemus Area Youth Soccer Organization's (BAYSO) 3-On-3 Soccer Tournament, one can bet that, given his experience directing and planning other big-name sporting events throughout the area, this one will be a similarly smashing success.
A?couple of players battle for the ball during the 2011 BAYSO 3-On-3 Soccer Tournament.
P-J file photo
Golando, a longtime president of the Southern Tier Wrestling Officials Organization, has garnered rave reviews from area wrestling coaches over the years for his work as tournament chairman of the annual Jamestown Holiday Classic. Given that track record of success, the same is expected on Saturday when some 280 boys and girls from the Under-10 division on up to the Under-17 division take part in the eighth edition of the popular soccer tournament, which is set to be held at the Town of Ellery Park.
Just three days from opening kickoff - there will games occurring simultaneously on 10 fields beginning promptly at 8:30 a.m. - Golando notes that the tournament couldn't have been done without the help of volunteers, BAYSO president Rich Carlson and former tournament organizer Cindy Saxton, among a great deal of others.
"We're getting closer," Golando said of the preparations for Saturday. "This is my first year running (the tournament), but really I just have the label (of tournament director). Cindy Saxton (and others) have done so much for the program over the years and they are still very much involved and helping to make sure (it is all ready and goes well)."
This year's tournament is expected to rival, Golando said, the size and scope of last year's edition, which was the most successful in the event's then seven-year run.
Some 70 teams, each with four players per squad, will be participating. The contests will consist of a pair of 10-minute halves, which is just enough time to keep the tournament on its one-game-every-half-hour schedule. All teams are guaranteed to play at least three games and Golando expects the final games to be played by 4 or 4:30 p.m.
All the proceeds from the event will go towards the BAYSO program.
"That money goes to keeping BAYSO equipment up to date and towards all that other things that are necessary to keep BAYSO running," Golando said.
Most important of all, however, is that the people most crucial to the tournament's success - the athletes who participate - are ready and raring to get playing.
"The kids are really excited," Golando said. "They have all their teams set and have gotten together with their teammates to have shirts and jerseys made up. So for the kids it's a fun time and they are looking forward to it."