With the exception of the curtailment of organized play during the war years of the 1940's, newspaper reports of soccer teams participating in league play in the district of Essex County date back to at least 1904, when a Windsor team comprised of Canadian players recruited from such teams as Riverside of Toronto, Berlin Rangers and Galt, participated in the West division of the Peninsular League. The league which registered teams from both sides of the Canadian-American border was conceivably the forerunner of other such leagues that have intermittently existed over the years to provide cross-border competition much like the present day Michigan Ontario Soccer League.
In the fall of 1920 the Windsor and District Football Association was the governing body, which provided the means for 9 teams to participate in league play. A first round game of the Chilvers Charity Cup, pitting the Sons of England against Veterans was scheduled to be played at Wigle Park. This is the same Wigle Park, which has been maintained exclusively as a soccer pitch. This facility has the distinction of having been in use for at least 80 years of robust competition enjoyed by many generations of players and teams. And speaking of teams, it is entirely possible the Sons of England team of 1920, was the progenitor of today's Canadian Anglo Club.
Essex County Junior Soccer League was the registered administration body of the soccer community in 1929. The most noteworthy accomplishments this year was that Chemsals, a team sponsored by the local Salt Company, won the Provincial Championship by defeating Branford Corinthians in the final. This was the first Provincial soccer title for the border cities of Essex County. Another team from this year, which is worthy of mention, is the Canadian German Club. This was a team brought together by a factory worker named Paul Stichmann. He was a substitute goalie for another local team an wasn't getting enough playing time so he to start a German-Canadian team. Following the Depression, the club officially changed its name to the Teutonia Club and has continuously sponsored teams competing in district and provincial leagues for 81 years.
Competition in the district appeared to have been maintained to a level sufficient for the Windsor Blues of 1935 to advance to the finals of the Ontario Junior Provincial Cup where they were beaten by one goal. It would seem that the present day system of a team carrying several substitutes would have been a definite advantage, unless of course your team was the Motor Products Rovers of 1935. It was reported that in an Injured Players Trophy match wherein Motor Products defeated Teutonia by a score of 3-2, little Sandy Hamilton, playing Manager of the Motor Products outfit, who usually plays inside forward or halfback, made his debut as a goalie and played a fine game.
In the Fall of 1947 a group of soccer enthusiasts met in the clubhouse at Wigle Park and formed the Essex County Football Association. League competition commenced in 1948 and was operated by the Association until 1953 when a league was officially formed with it own officers. The officers of the Association at this time were, President, Walter Lomas; Vice-President, James Points; Secretary, Maurice Honeyman; Treasurer, Fred Nixon; with Jack Davidson, Archie Browning and Ross Paisley of the Parks and Recreation as the Council.
Essex County enjoyed an abundance of some very talented teams, which were mostly rostered with an influx of European emigres in the 1950's. International competitions included an exhibition game 1n 1957 with the great Tottenham Hotspurs of England playing the Windsor All-Stars. In 1958 Teutonia Club made a tour of Holland and Germany. The first club from Canada to make such a tour. Also in 1958, the Windsor Rovers, made up of local high school aged players and the lone Canadian entry, were the Champions of the Indoor Soccer League based in Michigan. Games were played at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. By all accounts, this was the first time organized indoor soccer had been played in North America. Teutonia Club's documented longevity heads a list of several other long established member Clubs in the District which are still active patronizing.
The Giovanni Caboto Soccer Club was established in 1950 and has an enduring record of self sufficiency with former senior players contributing to the cause by coaching and training the various teams sponsored by the club. In 1980, the "Caboto Specials" group was founded as an integral faction of the Club to provide for handicapable youth and adult members to participate in soccer and other athletic activities.
Windsor Serbs Club (1950) is included in this group of perennial sponsors. Croatia Club (1962) is another organization with a long term of commitment to soccer. The results being that it reaped the benefits of its teams winning the most Ontario Cup Championships in Essex County. Naturally, the British role has ever been a staple in this district in some fragment social structure or another. With names like, Sons of England (1920), Sons of Scotland, Rangers, Rovers, etc., there is little doubt about the ethnic character of such teams. The Canadian-Anglo Club is the most recent enduring fraternity, which has provided sponsorship since 1967.
The tally of championship laurels is recorded beginning with the 1929 Junior Provincial Champions, Chemsals. The rich triumphant history of the District includes others amongst which more recently are the 1957 Windsor Corinthians; 1961 Windsor G. Caboto Soccer Club; 1971 Windsor Maple Leaf Serbians; 1974 Windsor Italia; 1976 Windsor Croatia Club; 1983 Windsor Croatia Club; 1990 Windsor G. Caboto Club, which also went on to win the bronze medal at the National Club Championship that year and 1995 Windsor Croatia Club. The first youth team of the District to be crowned Ontario Cup Champions was the 1982 Under 12 Boys, Windsor Running Shoe. The most recent teams are the 2000 Under 12 Girls Ontario Cup Champions, Eastside Kickers, the first girls team from the District to win a Provincial title and the 2000 Boys Under 18 Ontario Cup Champions, Windsor FC Nationals. The distinction of being the first team in the District to be crowned champions of the Special Olympics belongs to the 1997 Windsor Spirit team.
The inauguration of organized youth soccer was accomplished in 1970 with the formation of the Essex County Minor Soccer Association, which operated independently from the senior administrative governing body. Amalgamation of the two organizations resulted in the establishment of the present day Essex County Soccer Association. As a result of the guidance provided by the Ontario Soccer Association, amalgamation with its inherent growing pains was achieved with an abbreviated learning curve.
Today the youth recreational needs are being administered to by the Windsor Soccer Club, governance inherited from the Essex County Youth Soccer Association. The Club has the largest number of players and teams registered in a District, which for the 2000 playing season, catered to the requirements of 23 Clubs, 4 Leagues and 490 teams. A total of 6391 registered players are the beneficiaries of a small army of dedicated volunteers.