The Milton Soccer Academy was founded in September 2004 as a non-profit organization by Uwe Samstag-Schnock, Dolly Pawlak, and Michael Walter. Soon after, Cory Carter, Mark Boswell, Joe Amaral, and Pat Henstock joined in to complement the Board.
The Academy started with its skills-focused indoor program in October 2004 with 24 players aged 9-11. It grew to 110 players in two age groups in the summer of 2005. This is when a separate, weekly Advanced Skills Development session was introduced for those who wanted to learn advanced, and engrain newly acquired, skills. During the winter of 2005, we were able to accommodate over 60 players in three age groups. During this winter, we also piloted the “Kinder Soccer Academy” for players aged 3 & 4, with great success. During the summer of 2006, we had over 250 children organized in four age groups. Our Advanced Skills Development sessions were quite popular as well, providing players with an additional 2 hours per week of training.
The summer of 2006 marked the first time that we needed to turn players away as demand outstripped coaching capacity. Our indoor 2006 session now had over 130 players, with many more that we could not service. The following 2007 outdoor season reached capacity – in fact, we were scaling back in order to increase the coaches-players ratio. This further enhanced the soccer experience of our young players. 2008 saw see the addition of an U13 age group, while in 2009, upon being admitted to the Ontario Soccer Association and the Peel Halton District Soccer Association as a member club, we joined multi-jurisdictional leagues for our youth teams U12 to U16. In this first year of inter-club play, our U12 boys and girls team clinched the ESL league titles and play-off championships, while our U10 All-Stars won the Aurora All-Star tournament. The Winter of 2009 saw us submitting two teams into the Hershey Centre leagues run on artificial turf, in addition to our local indoor skills development programs.
In the summer of 2007, the Academy added 3 adult Ladies teams, playing in an intercity recreational league. This allowed us to complement our programs with senior teams and draw upon more experienced players to augment our coaching staff. In 2008, demand for adult female programming allowed us to run a league with 8 teams. This is also in accordance with our club mission of providing an avenue for players to have a club when they grow beyond their junior years. We also support a senior men team in the indoor season playing in the OSA Indoor Soccer Centre in Vaughan, which is primarily made up of MSA referees and coaches.
While we added and coached competitive teams in years to come, it quickly became obvious that competitive youth play does not fit with our Mission. We scaled back our competitive youth program to teams with which we can align committed and qualified coaches. However, we have partnered with other organizations who specialize in this area in order to provide our players with a path towards competitive play.
Growth is not always a good thing and we are cognizant of issues that come about when admitting players indiscriminately. Our policy is to limit the number of players according to the number of qualified coaches we have at time of registration. Lastly and invariably, a big organization loses touch with its members – we hope not to. With this in mind, we cap enrolment into our programs.