Mississauga News: Change Rooms Gone, but Soccer Continues


Change rooms gone but soccer continues

The Mississauga News
Jun 6, 2003

After a busy off-season, Toronto Croatia and Mississauga Olympians are poised to make this city a battleground for supremacy -- well, sort of.

That 'sort of' is because when Olympians open their Canadian Professional Soccer League season tonight against London City, they will be playing the first of many home games on the road.

Since the City of Mississauga prevented the soccer players from using the change rooms at Erin Mills Twin Arenas, Olympians' owner David Gee decided to pick up stakes and take his show on the road.

"Last year the Erin Mills Arena floor was not in demand on the weekends so therefore we were able to accomodate the (Olympians) in respect to the dressing rooms," explained Pat Craigmile, the City's acting district manager of central services.

"Now that we're using the ice surface this summer all the dressing rooms will be for using the ice surfaces."

Although Olympians could have used the Erin Mills Soccer Club's change rooms just down the road, Gee decided otherwise. "Both the soccer field and the change rooms have to go together," said Gee, who added having his players going without change room facilities was not an option. "What the hell, we're a professional soccer league."

So, after an attempt to move his team to Etobicoke's Centennial Stadium was shot down by the Toronto Supra, who own the territorial rights, and a request for a one-year leave of absence was rejected by the league, Gee's Olympians decided to play all 18 of their games on enemy turf.

That also means if the expected dogfight for first place between the Olympians and Croatia (who play out of Streetsville's Memorial Park) takes place, the only time it'll be fought within the city limits will be during two September matches.

Despite Croatia and the Olympians placing one-two (respectively) in the Western Conference last year, both teams are looking for redemption after being upset in the playoffs by North York Astros. Returning to the Olympians is the CPSL's leading goal scorer and Rookie of the Year, Darren Tilley, who netted 20 goals.

Tilley will wear two hats this season. He will also take over the coaching duties from Gee, and share them with the CPSL's 1990 Coach of the Year, Tony Laferrara.

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