2017 soccer season is almost here

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Christopher Kelly – Tillsonburg Soccer Club

Soccer has come a long way in Tillsonburg since its humble beginnings near what is now known as Cadman Park. After some lean years and a rebound, soccer in Tillsonburg has grown to greater offerings, with something for players of every ability and background.

“One of the most beautiful aspects of the game is soccer is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, status or creed. It’s a very inclusive sport,” said Sebastian Fardella, President of the Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club. “It’s relatively inexpensive as organized sports go, and some of the game’s greatest players have come from very humble roots.”

TMSC has begun implementing the Ontario Soccer Association’s Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model, with a strong curriculum for all age groups, and better coaching support.

“LTPD is about putting the player first, and offering age-appropriate opportunities for kids,” said Fardella. “When children learn the right skills at the right time – supported by a great community of parents, coaches and volunteers – they become more confident in their abilities and have more fun.”

Registration this weekend

Open to players born between 1999 and 2014, the Youth House League runs from May through August with one or two sessions per week, depending on the age group.

The Tillsonburg Soccer Club will host an in-person registration session this Saturday, February 25 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Registration is also open online, at www.tillsonburgsoccer.ca.

Advanced registration prices end March 1st.

Coaches needed

New this year, coaches will receive handbooks and training to help with their age groups.

“Our Ops Committee has been hard at work this off-season. We really believe that all players deserve the best experience. I think this is a great way to take the club forward – parents will appreciate the direction, and the kids will love it.”

Volunteers are needed as always for coaching and organizational positions. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact the club. The new coaching manuals will assist coaches to learn more about the game, even if they didn’t grow up playing soccer.

“As a not for profit organization, we really wouldn’t be able to function without the love and care of the volunteers we have,” said Fardella. “We’re lucky to be in such a strong community.”

New ladies division for adults

Soccer isn’t just for kids either. TMSC will again provide adults of all ages the opportunity to play in an organized environment through the co-ed adult rec and new women’s league.

“Our adult program has been growing year after year,” said Fardella. “Last year we had over 185 adults and 13 teams.”

There are two divisions in the co-ed adult rec program. A Division is for competitive and/or skilled players to play at a high-level, and the B Division is for all skill levels, new players, older players, couples and singles in a fun, recreational setting.

Women of all ages (18+) are invited to join in on the inaugural season of the new women’s league, a new division meant for women of all ages for fun and great soccer.

“There has been overwhelming support for a women’s division as of late – we’re really excited to get that going,” said Fardella.

A beautiful game

The recent success of Toronto FC, who made it to the MLS Cup for the first time in franchise history, as well as the sustained quality of the women’s national team shows just how much the game of soccer has grown in the past decade.

"Players like Christine Sinclair, London’s Jesse Fleming and TFC’s Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco have become household names, giving youth soccer players something that hockey and baseball always had – a local superstar to be inspired by,” said Fardella.

Challenger will be returning for the 2017 season, offering camps for youth of all ages and abilities with dates to be determined soon.