TMSC responds to council delegation

Members of Tillsonburg FC play six-versus-six small-field soccer at Gyulveszi Park on Friday, Aug. 7. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk and Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

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Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club has responded to a delegation from Tillsonburg FC to Tillsonburg town council on Aug. 10 with a formal letter that they have submitted to council.

“We are disappointed that an internal matter has become so public, and as we have become increasingly aware of the many falsehoods and misinformation that have been presented as fact in this case, we feel it necessary to clear up misconceptions and statements that have been made regarding the current situation,” stated the board of directors in the letter.

It was noted that all soccer programs provided by TMSC are sanctioned and insured through the Western Counties Soccer Association, an organization dedicated to the promotion and support of grassroots soccer.

“TMSC is committed to providing fun, affordable, inclusive, and community-focused soccer for everyone,” stated a Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club board member on Facebook, responding to a story on the Tillsonburg FC delegation at Tillsonburg Council on Aug. 10. “For us, that includes house league and competitive, working together for a common goal, not in opposition of each other.”

At the August 10 meeting, Council voted to support the formation of a liaison group consisting of two members from each soccer club, with resource support from two Town representatives.

“It’s a great idea,” said Chris Kelly, president of Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club. “There is room for both clubs. We have two very different purposes and we should both be helping each other out. But for whatever reason, it’s not working out that way right now and it’s something that needs to be fixed, absolutely.”

That same sentiment was shared in TMSC’s letter to council.

“We look forward to working together with (Tillsonburg) FC to form an amicable relationship that brings house league and competitive soccer closer together, serving our community to provide inclusive, developmentally appropriate, and affordable soccer for everyone.”

It was noted in the letter that because of the lack of funds due to all recreational and competitive leagues cancelling their seasons, TMSC had closed the fields for organized soccer to save costs required to maintain fields in game shape.

“COVID hit in March and shut absolutely everything down,” said Kelly. “Because the land is owned by the municipality, we absolutely have to follow the town’s instructions as far as closing things down, so everybody was notified March 28th that the club was closed because of COVID-19, and we’d keep everybody in the loop as to what was going to happen from there.

“They had plans to hopefully start in July. There were several things that we needed in order for that to move forward, like proof of insurance, so that we’re not liable for anything. We needed to know how many teams there were going to be, just so that we could schedule fields and make sure that everything was lined up for them.”

That’s when the situation deteriorated.

In the letter, TMSC stated they encouraged Tillsonburg FC to use Gyulveszi Park for practices, with games to be played at the soccer park, stated the board in the letter, and the proposal was denied by Tillsonburg FC.

“If Tillsonburg FC wishes to use the fields,” stated the TMSC board of directors, “with nets, lines, hydro, and washroom facilities, it is more than reasonable to expect that they will in some way, pay for use and contribute to the legacy of the facility.”

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