It may have taken more than a year to complete, but there likely isn’t a more fitting tribute to the legacy of Cris Quinn than the newly opened Cris Quinn Indoor Soccer Facility.
The new facility, located on the Beaumont Youth Soccer Club (BYSC) complex, held its grand opening Monday. It’s the same location where the late Quinn could be found frequently mowing the grass and tending to the dozens of soccer fields for kids of all ages.
“This is a culmination of everything Cris started,” said Glen Morgan, who along with Wayne Reaud, The Beaumont Foundation, the Cris Quinn Foundation and others helped to fund the state-of-the-art facility. “He would have done this sooner or later and it is just a culmination of everything he started out here.
“The thing is that he wasn’t just a soccer enthusiast; he was a kid enthusiast, and he went out to different areas and helped different kids with different things. This is just one measure of the kind of work that Cris started, and it is our small attempt at trying to continue his legacy in doing those kinds of things.”
Morgan said land for the new indoor soccer facility was contributed in the form of a long-term lease by the drainage district, and the electrical work was done by the IBEW Local 479.
Becky Quinn, who watched two of her children kick the first goals at the new facility, said it’s beyond anything she had imagined and is a fitting tribute to her late husband’s legacy.
“It really is amazing,” Quinn said. “This was the first day that I have actually seen it and I couldn’t believe how large and beautiful it is. It’s going to be a great place. He would be very happy.”
The new facility is unlike any between Houston and Baton Rouge, according to John Werner, who saw the project through to completion. He said playing indoors will help young soccer players learn different aspects of the game and improve their techniques, which could help them gain soccer scholarships in the future.
“It is a great opportunity for the community and the kids,” he said. “It is a first class facility that stands up to any in Houston, Dallas or Austin, and it’s great to teach the kids technique. For the real dedicated players, it will be a place where they can practice and train year-round regardless of the weather. And again, the indoor soccer game is credited with being a great method of developing skills because of the nature of the game.”
Those sentiments were shared by Thomas Shenton, who came to America from England and is now the BYSC’s head trainer.
“When you compare it to other areas and other clubs I have never seen where you have fields as good as those outside linked to a facility indoors as good as this, usually they are separate,” Shenton said. “So for the BYSC and the Spindletop Youth Soccer League to have a facility like this in Beaumont is astronomical in terms of the youth soccer world. It’s huge for this area. Even in England you don’t get facilities like this.
“My conception of soccer for youth here is the way they progress and this is basically a step up for college and getting scholarships. This will enhance the opportunities they will get whether it is playing for Lamar or playing for a club elsewhere at a different university.”
The facility is open for free-play for the remainder of the week and schedules will be implemented for skills training, games and other activities throughout the weeks ahead. There is already a 12-week training program in the works, and Shenton said he hopes to see more kids utilize the new indoor facility.