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Hamilton Grassroots Brings Soccer To The Under-Serviced

By OSA News, 09/20/16, 2:30PM EDT


Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field has a unique relationship with its community. 

Perhaps unlike any other ground in Canada, the stadium is smack dab in the middle of a family neighbourhood. People can quite literally sit on their front porch and look upon the new facility and people-watch as fans stream up to events. 

On game nights, you will see people tailgating in driveways and selling parking on their lawn to those coming in from out of town. 

In a way, it was a bit of a tease. Here was this fantastic facility in your front yard, in an area of the city that was under serviced for community access. 

Enter the ArcelorMittal Defasco Hamilton Grassroots Soccer program. 

This summer the Hamilton Grassroots Soccer program offered 500 children from the stadium precinct, a 10-week free summer program from June to August. 

John Gibson, the president of the Hamilton and District Soccer Association, helped implement this new program. 

“The goal was to create a Pan Am Legacy at the stadium and to concentrate on the precinct around the stadium, which is severely under serviced,” Gibson said. 

The ratio of coaches to children is one coach to every five kids - something no other team sports clinic in the city can boast. 

It has been one of the big reasons for their early success. 

“Our goal was always 500 children but I believed it was going to take three to five years to get there. We originally had 200 and I thought that was a great start,” he said. 

Gibson says they hope to expand the program in the years ahead but they are limited by the space at the stadium. 

As for those who are already participating, there have been rave reviews. 

“The feedback has been outstanding and very appreciative to everyone who has contributed, especially the 100 plus volunteers,” Gibson said. 

Click here for more on the ArcelorMittal Defasco Hamilton Grassroots Soccer program