Grassroots Soccer Hoping For TFC Effect
Toronto FC’s trip to the MLS Cup final on December 10, the first ever for a Canadian club, could prove a boost for soccer locally.
Vancho Cirovski heads up Windsor TFC — the local League1 Ontario team becoming affiliated with TFC earlier this year. He says he hopes to see Toronto FC’s success encourage more young players to commit to the sport.
“I think it means a lot for our kids to turn towards Toronto and know that that club has an eye on our kids,” says Cirovski.
Toronto FC beat rival Montreal Impact 5-2 on Wednesday to win the MLS Eastern Conference Championship 7-5 on aggregate — the total goals over the two leg series — drawing a record TV audience of 1.4-million for a Canadian MLS game.
Cirovski hopes the attention turns into grassroots growth.
“I think the fact that 1-million people watched the game [Wednesday] and there will be probably a lot more watching the final I think speaks volumes for how much interest there is,” says Cirovski. “A win by TFC sure helps.”
Cirovski stresses while big wins by TFC at the highest professional level in North America help, it’s up to local soccer leaders to capitalize on the attention the team is generating for the sport.
“We have to continue to raise our performance locally,” says Cirovski. “We need to get the right coaching in place, people who are more committed, players who are really interested in the longer-term; so it helps, but it’s really our job to do more with the program that we have in place locally.”
There are 10,000 registered kids playing soccer in Windsor-Essex.