Terry Sawchuk

Amherstburg Soccer Club presents “Day of Champions”


By Jonathan Martin


The Larry Bauer Park soccer fields have drawn local champions in to play.

Saturday saw LaSalle, South Windsor and Amherstburg’s interlocked U18 divisions compete in the first round, quarter-finals and semi-finals of 2018’s Day of Champions.  LaSalle hosted the championship game Sunday.

At press time, the official final results have not been released.

Players show what they’re made of at 2018’s Day of Champions, held at the Libro Centre’s soccer fields in Amherstburg last Saturday. The championship finals were held in LaSalle Sunday.

The semi-finals went into overtime, with Amherstburg getting knocked out by a penalty kick.  LaSalle suffered the same fate.  South Windsor came out ahead.

This was South Windsor’s first year participating in the interlock.  According to Amherstburg Soccer Club (ASC) president Terry Sawchuk, the organization’s growth can be attributed to the sport’s capacity for teambuilding, healthy living and, most importantly, its affordability.

“Every year we have more players join,” he said.  “This year, membership is up by about 75.  We also started a new girls-only league this year.”

The tournament also enjoyed a healthy turnout.  Soccer-lovers lined the fields, hiding from the heat in the shade of sapling trees while the players laughed and ran and kicked and leaped.

“The Town of Amherstburg, as always, has been fantastic,” Sawchuk said.  “They keep the fields well-maintained and I’ve received compliments on the quality of the facilities.”

Amherstburg Soccer Club hosts ECSL soccer festival



By Ron Giofu


The fields at Larry Bauer Park were busy on the weekend as the Amherstburg Soccer Club hosted players, coaches and parents from around the area.

“This is our annual festival we are hosting for the ECSL (Essex County Soccer League,” explained Amherstburg Soccer Club (ASC) president Terry Sawchuk. “This year we had 48 teams between U8, U9 and U10. That is phenomenal. Soccer keeps growing.”

The ASC’s travel program, the Amherstburg Fusion, fielded three teams with the U9 team playing Saturday and the U8 team and the U10 team taking the pitch Sunday. Teams from across Windsor-Essex turned out as well to Larry Bauer Park, located in front of the Libro Centre. Games went off rain or shine.

Sawchuk was thrilled with not only the overall turnout, but the amount of girls that participated.

“I love to see more girls playing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s boys or girls, it a game anyone can play.”

The Amherstburg Fusion U10 team (white jersey) competed in the rain Sunday morning against Belle River in ECSL soccer festival action at Larry Bauer Park.

The Amherstburg Fusion program has roughly 150 players overall while the co-ed house league program has just over 400. There are about 40 players in the girls-only house league division. That brings overall ASC membership to around the 600 mark, with Sawchuk stating it is the largest youth sports organization in Amherstburg.

With the World Cup being this year, Sawchuk added it always translates into increased interest in the sport locally.

ECSL festivals take place across the county from around early-May to the end of August, said Sawchuk. He added that Fusion teams are also hitting the road for tournaments, including a large one in Sarnia in mid-July.

Sawchuk thanked the volunteers for helping to present the weekend tournament and also thanked the Town of Amherstburg. Town staff helped prepare the soccer pitches once they were finally able to get onto the fields after a lot of rain earlier this year.

“Obviously, it’s a partnership with the town to make them look this way,” said Sawchuk.

Coaches and parents also praised the ASC, noting that games went off on time and the fields were well prepared.

Amherstburg Soccer Club aligns with Vardar Windsor soccer program



By Ron Giofu


Soccer players in Amherstburg have improved their chances of development as players and people thanks to a new partnership.

The Amherstburg Soccer Club (ASC), which operates the Amherstburg Fusion travel programs as well as the house league soccer program at Larry Bauer Park and the Libro Centre, have affiliated with Vardar Windsor Premier Soccer Club as of 2018. ASC president Terry Sawchuk was thrilled with the new partnership.

“(Vardar) chose (Amherstburg) as their home base even before this partnership,” Sawchuk explained. “For us, this is huge. We’ve never had these kinds of resources before.”

The announcement was made last Saturday with Vardar Windsor president Lorenzo DiSalvo, technical director Rob Arce and coach Max Samsa.

Sawchuk said the Amherstburg Soccer Club is growing and as of last Saturday morning, had 482 players signed up. The partnership with Vardar has produced two new programs, the first of which is a U4 program that will be played Saturday mornings.

“Rob just felt it was important to work with the kids at a young age, just to make soccer fun,” said Sawchuk.

Sawchuk said he is “extremely excited” by the launch of the all-girls program. He noted that as enrolment in minor soccer expands, statistics show that 45 per cent of new players are girls.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever run it in Amherstburg,” said Sawchuk. “We felt it was a time to offer a program to help develop the girls.”

The Amherstburg Soccer Club (ASC) has affiliated with the Vardar Windsor Premier Soccer Club. From left: Vardar Windsor president Lorenzo DiSalvo, Vardar coach Max Samsa, Vardar and ASC technical director Rob Arce and Amherstburg Soccer Club president Terry Sawchuk.

Arce – whose licenses include one from Argentina and others from Futsal-AMF and the U.S. national soccer program – will also become technical director with the Amherstburg Soccer Club and work with coaches as well as players at both the house league and travel levels.

“If we develop the coaches, we’ll develop the players,” said Sawchuk.

The project will start as a five-year initiative and Arce said the Vardar program offers nutritionists, psychologists, training and other features that local players could have access to. He added they want to create a “Fusion DNA” in which Amherstburg players will be known for. The plan is to develop “flex players” that will be “in your face, high pressure, technically sound players when we have the ball,” with Arce saying the goal when they don’t have the ball being to recover it as quickly as possible.

Samsa said they are not reinventing the wheel with the flex-style model “but we are inflating the tire” and developing local players. He said that soccer is a much different sport with a different style than hockey or football, so a player should be prepared to devote many hours to developing the soccer skillset if they wish to improve.

“We want them to buy into a philosophy,” said Arce.

Vardar Windsor also collaborates with Betty Bavagnoli, an Italian coach and former women’s national team member.

Vardar has clubs across the world, including Windsor, and is highly regarded. Over the five years it has been in Windsor, five players from the region have achieved athletic scholarships. DiSalvo said they can’t promise players anything but said they will help develop them and not just on the field, either.

“We’re trying to develop people,” said DiSalvo. “We’re trying to develop the person, not just the player.”

Sawchuk said whereas Amherstburg used to lose players to other areas, they now can keep players in Amherstburg due to the development of the Fusion program. He believes more will come in with the Vardar affiliation, which now allows players to develop further in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg soccer wraps up season with Day of Champions



By Jolene Perron

The Libro Centre was flooded with kids in soccer jerseys of all colors, gathering for one final game, after which they received their awards and a lunch to conclude their seasons.

“The Day of Champions format is new this year, but we have always ended with a wrap up tournament, for the last 27 years now,” explained Amherstburg Soccer Club president Terry Sawchuk. “This is the end goal, to play in the championship game for title of Division Champion. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and hopefully the end to a fun and great season of soccer, along with the skills challenge, its about having fun and meeting new friends and learning to work in a team environment.”

The Amherstburg Soccer Club held their Day of Champions, which wrapped up their soccer season July 29.

The Amherstburg Soccer Club held their Day of Champions, which wrapped up their soccer season July 29.

Sawchuk said all the hard work all of the volunteers, board members, convenors, and he says most importantly the coaches, get to watch what they have done all year culminate into this end of season event. There were over 400 people participating.

Aside from the games and awards, they also held their fourth annual skills challenge, which consisted of five events aimed at showcasing what they have learned over the course of the year. The top female and male athletes in each division compete for a trophy and title of top of their division.

“We take pride in what we have accomplished this year and have adjusted things to provide a great club for all of our players in both House League and Fusion (travel program) to play in, and have fun,” said Sawchuk. “At the end of the day, we do it for the children in Amherstburg.”

Sawchuk stated with four divisions contending for championships, they had some great games and tough competition. The winners from each of these divisions were:

U8 coed – Team D’Alimonte Real estate

U10 coed – Romano’s Specialty Meat’s & Deli

U12 coed – Maria’s Restaurant

U15 coed – Cynthia Thrasher Barrister & Solicitor

The Day of Champions for Amherstburg’s Soccer Club included final soccer games, lunch and awards. April Quimby from the U10 Division shows off her award July 29.

The Day of Champions for Amherstburg’s Soccer Club included final soccer games, lunch and awards. April Quimby from the U10 Division shows off her award July 29.

“We also held our fourth annual skills challenge which was run by Vardar Soccer and saw our best turnout to date of 178 participants. They competed in five skills – shot accuracy, passing accuracy, juggling, timed dribbling, and hardest shot,” said Sawchuk.

The winners by division were:

U8 Female – Malora Kelly

U8 Male – Lucas Squire

U10 Female – Emeline Vanlaerhoven-Overton

U10 Male – Judah Davis

U12 Female – Rylan Riddell

U12 Male – Felipe Siimes

U15 Female – Samantha Kolody

U15 Male – Jake Orchard

Amherstburg Soccer Club collects used uniforms for a cause


By Jolene Perron


In 2007, a pair of avid soccer playing sisters from LaSalle started a movement, which has now made its way into Amherstburg

Melissa and Erica Iarusso both played in school and competitive soccer teams growing up.

“While in high school the pair noticed that they had accumulated jerseys from over the years that had been going to waste sitting in boxes in their basement,” said Brittney Lawrence, LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club liaison for the Interact Club LaSalle. “The idea sprung to host a collection at their local high school, to find a way to gather all used uniforms and donate them to individuals who could put them to use. In addition to their individual project, Melissa and Erica formed a partnership with the LaSalle Stompers Soccer Club for players to donate their jerseys annually.”

Lawrence explained the two were not Rotarians at the time, but they did find out there was a need for jerseys in other countries around the world. This lead the two to connect with Rotarian Shelly Dubin, who Lawrence said, had travelled to several countries and had noticed there were house league teams being started in these countries.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

“A group of local Rotarians from Windsor Clubs have continuously been traveling to various countries and bringing along with them the donated uniforms,” said Lawrence. “From 2007 to present over 2,000 uniforms have been collected; ranging from house league jerseys, socks, shorts, competitive jerseys and soccer gear.”

Lawrence said funding for the trips comes from the respective clubs and international projects.

Since starting this project, Melissa and Erica have both become members of the Rotary Club of LaSalle Centennial, and even when they moved out of town to pursue their careers in Toronto, the Rotary Club wanted to keep it going under their Interact Club.

“This past May the Interact club was approached by the Amherstburg Soccer Club and asked to host collection bins for used uniforms, so that Amherstburg families could participate,” said Lawrence. “The Interact club was honored to collect uniforms on the Day of Champions July 29 at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. Due to the great success of the collection, a bin will be located in the Libro Centre for the week of July 31 to August 5. Used soccer jerseys, soccer socks and shorts are welcomed.”

The final day of the collection will occur Aug. 13 at the Day of Champions in LaSalle.

Terry Sawchuk, Amherstburg Soccer Club president said he feels they are very fortunate to be in a position to do this collection.

“Our kids have so much more available to them and this is a small way to ‘pay if forward’ and essentially clean out our closets, and to the recipient of these uniforms, it could mean so much more,” said Sawchuk. “In essence we could have a team being represented in either one of those African countries from ‘Amherstburg’ which I think is a great notion. This is an extremely small thing we can do, that could have a huge impact on these other children’s lives.”