Youth Soccer Trials Saturday for Tillsonburg Football Club

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After two years of pandemic disruption, Tillsonburg Football Club‘s youth and adult football teams are delighted with a full season on the pitch.

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“The work of all the volunteers just to hold things together and build back stronger has been tremendous,” said Tillsonburg FC chairman Mark Locker. “There has been so much effort behind the scenes to make it a great place to play, and a lot of determination. People love sports. »

Head coach John Twinem agreed.

“First we couldn’t train at all,” Twinem said. “Then we had to train with the social distancing in force. Then we had to adapt to the application of health regulations by the different establishments. But everyone got involved to make things possible. Our coaches and our players are really happy to play again.

During the break, the club refocused, adapted a more strategic approach and developed a plan that will take its operations to a more professional level. Its goal is to become a leading club in the region with indoor and outdoor facilities for all age groups, and with that, to be able to register its own teams in the Ontario Player Development League, the highest Canada Soccer youth level of play. While Canada Soccer has made great strides at world level (the women have won Olympic gold and the men have just qualified for the World Cup), Tillsonburg FC wants to provide high-level and affordable opportunities for young people from the region.

Currently, Tillsonburg FC will field 10 teams in total. In addition to a new adult women’s team, which is expected to play in the London Area Women’s Soccer League, there are two masters teams (over 35), two men’s teams (Western Ontario Soccer League Premier Division and Second Division) and five youth teams.

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“Like other sports, we are really coming out of our hibernation, with the youth teams,” Twinem said. “The girls’ U14/15 program has really come together thanks to the determination of their head coach, Elemer Sopronyi, over the past two years, and even though play has been limited, they are growing a lot as players. “

In addition, there is an U9 team (head coach, Sandro Palermo) which is starting to enter the competitive circuit, an U10/11 team (head coach, Austin Gazley) which has had a good (but short) first season in 2021, a new U12 girls team (Head Coach, Carrie Kowalski) and U14 boys team (Head Coach, Mike Thompson) who won their division in a short season and were promoted to Tier 1 of the Elgin Middlesex District Soccer League.

Tillsonburg FC will have 10 football teams in 2022, including five competitive youth teams.
Tillsonburg FC will have 10 football teams in 2022, including five competitive youth teams. jpg, TN

“It’s great to see the players grow and develop again,” Locker said. “And we think we’re headed in a very good direction for growth. We have more of our coaches from elite and high performance levels of play, so kids are educated by players who have taught themselves well.


While teams are largely already formed and signed up, Twinem noted that there will be a tryout opportunity for all age groups on Saturday, May 7 at 1:30 p.m. at Tillsonburg Soccer Park.

“We know the COVID disruption and a late spring meant that many parents didn’t even realize it was time to sign up for summer sports. Playing at the higher level required by the competition (soccer) means you are always teaching players and helping them to become more skilled, more athletic. For us to play against good teams, we have to do more than just give the kids a shirt and tell them ‘Come out and kick the ball’.

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Twinem said they are always looking for young players who want to come out and start learning how to play.

“Our youth teams will all be with their coaches, have training on different grounds, and new players can step in and see what it’s like.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” Locker said. “Getting them out to learn ‘the beautiful game’. Tillsonburg FC is committed to teaching it. Our affiliation with the Vancouver Whitecaps has allowed a number of young players to advance to the Whitecaps OPDL teams, the highest level of youth soccer in the province. Others went on to play college and college football. Our men’s and women’s teams are enjoying their playing abilities. Now our youth teams are enjoying their coaching abilities. We want to give the children of Tillsonburg the chance to become great soccer players.

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