Tillsonburg Soccer Club
From the Athletics to TMSC
Organized soccer began in Tillsonburg in 1958 with the Tillsonburg Athletics (founded by Henry Ghesquire), playing wherever a game could be played—often on uneven, stoney fields. A second adult team was added in 1964 when Tillsonburg United was founded by Lou Sargent.
1978 saw the founding of Tillsonburg Mini Soccer by Ches Sulkowski and Ed DeDecker. Using smaller nets and balls, the program began with four mini fields in Cadman Park. By the mid 1980’s with registrations over 600, the program expanded to include traveling teams participating in the Southern Counties League. The program eventually grew to occupy Concession Street East Fields, Cadman Park, and Gyuveszi Park.
With soccer in Tillsonburg having grown year-over-year, it was time to take the club to the highest possible level of sport. In 1998, ten local soccer enthusiasts met to discuss the foundation of a non-profit club and soccer specific facility: George Ambrus, Ed DeDecker, Frank Deutsch, Gus Papadakos, Michael Papaioannou, Dave Metsalaar, Ches Sulkowski, Tony Vanderscheur, Jane Van Leeuwen, and Mike Van Wynsberghe became the first board of directors of the Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club.
Under the direction of chairman Michael Papaioannou, the “Millennium Soccer Project” began fundraising, and sourcing grants from the municipal, provincial, and federal governments. Money collected from the Trillium Foundation, a “Super Build” grant, and from the generous donations of local businesses and individual donors quickly took the project from a dream to reality.
In May of 2000, the Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club purchased 28.5 acres of land from Andy Jacko, and transferred ownership of said property to the Town of Tillsonburg while retaining priority rights for soccer. The agreement enabled to the club to establish a premier soccer facility without being hindered by excessive property taxes.
During Excavations and field levelling, a large Iroquoian village dating back to 1400 AD was discovered. Archeologix Inc. was tasked with studying the site, which eventually yielded five longhouses and hundreds of artifacts ranging from pipes to bone and stone tools. Under the direction of the ministry, and with the approval of Six Nations, the site was excavated and catalogued, and work on the soccer park was again under way.
In 2002, construction began on the clubhouse with two washrooms, four dressing rooms, a 60 person meeting room (the Kin-room), an upstairs hall for 150 with a full kitchen, and a canteen. The clubhouse was built to overlook the entire park.
On Sunday, Just 23, 2002, the Tillsonburg Minor Soccer Club held its Grand Opening event, with soccer demonstrations, a BBQ, and special guest—Team Canada and Ipswich Town FC skipper—Jason de Vos.
Since the early ’00’s soccer in Tillsonburg has continued to grow exponentially, expanding to include Men’s competitive teams (Masters, WOSL Premier, and First Division), and a highly active adult recreational league.
As soccer in the area continues to grow, the Tillsonburg Soccer Club refuses to rest on is laurels and strives to improve the quality of our coaching, facilities, and on-field product. Our goal is to provide the best possible soccer experience to players of all ages.