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City moves towards creating soccer destination

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According to Joe Barile, president of the Essex County Soccer Association (ECSA), Windsor is the only city in Ontario with a population of over 200,000 people that doesn't have a turf field for soccer.

“Can't say that anymore.” Barile exclaimed after presenting a cheque for $400,000.

A partnership between the ECSA and the City of Windsor will see $3 million dollars invested to create Windsor's first municipally owned turf field.

“The $400,000 is mostly for the enhancements to the facility so we're earmarking that for player shelters, enhanced lighting, fencing, pathway to the field, and a scoreboard.” Barile said.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall, with completion in the spring/summer of 2025. The turf field is just the beginning of what will become a home for the soccer community.

“The vision here is to have more than one artificial turf field and to create something that would be a destination for the soccer community, an excellent facility for local players but then having the ability to play into the sports tourism field,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens.

Vancho Cirovski, president of Windsor TFC said this is an important investment. “This is the first time that we've seen the commitment and investment from the city to actually set up the facility.”

The bigger picture involves a stadium with turf on the north side of the park that'll be home to a Canadian Premier League soccer team. “The vision for this facility, this place, is to have professional football being played at McHugh with a stadium that is right for our city.” Cirovski said.

Members of the soccer community, including LaSalle Stompers Coach Jason Mastrogiacomo, feel McHugh Park could become what Windsor Stadium used to be.

“This facility here is going to be great because I can remember having a big game at Wigle Park or Windsor Stadium and communities came together and met somewhere and this is probably the next chapter for the community, for the region.” 

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