Month: February 2016

Youth Soccer Shin Guards

Shin Guards for Your Young Soccer Player

All soccer players, from utter novices to total experts, have to wear shin guards. It only makes sense in a sport whose primary method of locomoting the ball involves kicking it out from under your opponent’s (also kicking) leg! We’ve all banged a shin into a table at some point, and have hopped around in amazement that such an innocuous accident can be so painful.

Shin guards should fit closely around the bones of the ankle, and end underneath the knee. They should protect the shin by creating a semi-rigid armor while allowing free movement of the leg.

When buying shin guards online, get the right fit by measuring an inch below the kneecap and an inch above the ankle. Shin guards are described in length, and this will help you choose the best fit. In addition to the proper length, the size of the ankle cup should be such that it fits closely, protecting the bones of the ankle.

When trying on shin guards, make sure to wear soccer socks, which are made to hold shin guards where they belong. Try them on with cleats or soccer shoes to make sure all the elements work well together. To make sure the fit is correct, wear new shin guards to practice several times before wearing them to an actual game. Never wear shin guards without soccer socks.

Some shin guards are machine-washable, but you may prefer to wash them by hand to help them stay new longer. Straps should be fastened before laundering. Players may want to powder them before use to help absorb perspiration.

Make sure the shin guards you buy are appropriate for the age of the wearer, and if a shin guard cracks, replace it right away. After all, a cracked shin guard can lead to a cracked –and extremely painful–shin!

Youth Soccer Shoes or Cleats

Youth Soccer Shoes or Cleats Guide for Parents

Buying the right soccer cleats (also called soccer shoes, or soccer boots) will not only result in a better player; they will prevent foot injuries, which can all too often ruin a soccer player’s enjoyment of the game.

Soccer cleats should fit closely, and it’s better to buy soccer shoes that fit children at the time of purchase rather than getting a larger pair and planning that the child will “grow into them”. Too-big soccer cleats, like shoes everywhere, will slip and rub, causing blisters and affecting stance and balance.

When you measure soccer cleats for teen and adult players, the wearer’s toe should not press against the end of the shoe, but should come within the width of a thumb when the wearer is standing. For children’s cleats, a little more room will give their feet room to grow. Let the child tell you which shoes are more comfortable.

If you’re planning to buy soccer cleats and other soccer gear for your child or adolescent, start shopping in the summer, before soccer season really starts. Spending a lot of money for children’s soccer cleats may not be justifiable, since they will probably be outgrown by the end of the school year. As long as they fit well, meet the team regulations, and provide support, you can get away with spending less money. Put the money you save away, though: by the time your little soccer hero gets into third or fourth grade, you may expect wrangling over the most popular–and expensive–brands.

The soles of your cleats should be rubber, and it’s best to buy regulation soccer cleats, since other sports cleats are not allowed in soccer. Kids’ cleats are unisex, which makes buying them easier on parents. Like shoes, girls’ and womens’ cleats will tend to be narrower than boys’ and mens’: women with wider feet may find men’s cleats fit their feet better. On the other hand, (or foot), men with narrow feet may find that women’s cleats fit them better without in any way diminishing their masculinity! Don’t let silly marketing ploys con you into buying soccer cleats that don’t fit you properly when the perfect size is the next aisle over.

When trying on soccer cleats, wear them with the socks and shin guards that will be used in practice and at games. It’s important to feel the way each item matches its fit with the others.

For beginning soccer players who don’t have grand notions, synthetic uppers with rubber soles will do just fine, preventing the problems other players will have with leather shoes. Leather uppers can become stiff and out of shape if they get wet and are improperly dried: synthetics tend to be more forgiving. If your cleats to get wet, stuff them with newspaper and let them dry naturally, without added heat.

If you are playing indoors, or if your child plays in a gym, you may decide to use sneakers or cross-trainers for soccer. They should be stable, without built-up soles or heels, and they should have rubber soles for adequate traction on smooth floors.

Soccer shoes that fit right enhance the enjoyment of the game as well as the skill level of the player. Take the extra time and energy to find the best soccer shoes for your feet and the conditions under which you are playing.

Code of Conduct for Parents of Toronto Azzurri Players

Congratulations!  You have chosen Toronto Azzurri Soccer Club as the organization responsible for providing top quality education to your child, within a professional atmosphere.  Before becoming part of this wonderful soccer experience, there is a responsibility of parents to abide by the following expectations:

  • On the day of scheduled games, parents are expected to bring players to the designated soccer fields, at least 20 minutes prior to the commencement of the game, or as specified by the coach.
  • Parents are to bring children to all practices punctually and regularly.  In the event of an absence from either a practice or a scheduled game, parents are expected to call either the coach or the team manager and justify the absence.
  • During the course of a scheduled game, parents are expected to stay at least three (3) meters away from the sidelines.
  • During all games, parents are expected to encourage by applause and by words of praise the efforts of all team members.
  • Under NO circumstances are parents ever permitted to engage in any form of verbal, racial or physical abuse towards any other person while representing the Toronto Azzurri Soccer organization.


  • Parents are encouraged to assist the Club in taking all necessary precautions to prevent its players, official’s and spectators from threatening or assaulting any person present at the game.
  • Parents are encouraged to remind their children that persistent misconduct, abusive language, violent conduct, persistent criticism or disputing of referee’s decisions, and deliberate physical contact carry an automatic suspensions as well as fines, and should, therefore, be avoided at all times.
  • Finally a reminder to us that as adults we have the responsibility to act as models of sportsmanship and fair play and show our children, by direct example, civilized and mature standards of behavior.

As parents you are responsible, therefore, to adhere to the above-mentioned standards of conduct otherwise your association with this club shall be terminated and your child shall be dismissed from the team.


Our Snack Bar is Open

Our club is happy to announce that a new and improved Snack Bar is open for the season of 2016. Known as “Nazli’s Café”, it is named in memory of Tim Horton’s employee Nazli Verma who was a great friend and contributor to the club.A variety of beverages and food items will be offered including:

  • Pop
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Tim Horton’s Coffee
  • Tea
  • Chips
  • Freezies
  • Hotdogs (Beef, Halal)
  • Beef Patties (Spicy, Mild)

The hours of operation are from 6:00pm – 9:00pm and is located opposite the Stadium Field’s entrance. Hope to see you there soon!

Book your Birthday Party at the Toronto Azzurri Youth Sport Viillage

The Toronto Azzurri is now accepting bookings for Birthday Parties. Please contact our office for available dates and times.


  • 2 Hour facility and soccer field availability
  • 1 hour field usage
  • 1 hour party room usage
  • 1 Party Size Pizza & 1 Case of Water
  • Cost: $300.00

Toronto Azzurri will supply…

  • Parking
  • Audio Visual Equipment Usage
  • Activity Room Usage
  • Snack Bar Area/Holding Room Usage
  • 5 Serving Tables
  • Up to 50 chairs
  • Large Beverage Vessel Usage
  • Washroom Facility
  • Subject to Availability – BBQ Station

The Toronto Azzurri L.I.U.N.A. Clubhouse is wheelchair accessible.

forKICKS Athletics and Education Organization

The Toronto Azzurri is proud to be a partner with the forKICKS Athletics and Education Organization“.

Why forKICKS? The laws of physics state that the earlier you influence a ball traveling along a certain path, the greater amount of impact your influence will have on the balls ultimate destination. The laws of human nature say much the same thing about children.

Armed with enough positive influences early on in life, children of all backgrounds can show remarkable resiliency in the face of later obstacles. That’s what the forKICKS program is all about.

Participation in sports has proven to be crucial not only to a child’s physical fitness, but to establishing a sense of self-esteem and well being. If we continue to invest the time and effort, we increase the odds for our children to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.

While large scale special events like the forKICKS Clinics are essential to the forKICKS program, the need they fill represents only the tip of the iceberg. Kids everywhere need active involvement on an ongoing basis at a local level, be it a school,  practice or a clinic.

What can you do to help?

You don’t need to be an expert, you don’t even need to be an athlete. You just need to care, and do something, anything to make a difference. Do it for a kid in your neighborhood. Dot it for yourself. Do it forKICKS.

Kids are entitled to an active life, sport and the pursuit of fun!

The forKICKS Pledge

We will make this happen for kids:

  1. Right to Participate
  2. Right to have Fun
  3. Right to Safety
  4. Right to Freedom of Choice
  5. Right to have a Voice
  6. Right to have Equal Access for Boys and Girls
  7. Right to Easy Access and Proper Facilities
  8. Right to have Quality / Qualified Coaches
  9. Right to have Quality Programs
  10. Right to have Parental / Community Involvement

Founder, Chief of Operations: Stephen Hicks

31_division_logoSergeant Stephen Hicks, the son of a retired Toronto Police officer founded For Kicks in 1999. Highly decorated as a Police Officer, Stephen is also an accomplished athlete in multiple sports – both as a competitor and in coaching. Having worked in the fields of lifeguarding, parks and recreation and hotel management. An accomplished lecturer, Stephen commits countless hours of volunteer work in both Toronto and Durham regions. Stephen Hicks also founded Kicks Fund, and vibrant non profit organization that raises funds for Sick Children’s Hospital.


If you would like further information, or have any questions please contact:

Sergeant Steve Hicks #4700
31 Division Community Response

A Proud Moment with Coach John DiSilva

Just wanted to share a proud coach moment I had this past week. We played against Team New Zealand last Wednesday and although we didn’t win, I got to see the winning goal taken by a young lady that I used to coach. I was so proud of the way she played and so exited for her…this was in fact her first goal, and I got to be a part of that. Even though she isn’t on our team, I couldn’t help but feel proud at that moment when she stepped into the ball and it went to the back of the net. I share this with you because at the end of all the coaching and games and sometimes the challenges we face, in that moment in time, is something that I will never forget. I feel very blessed to be a part of an organization that takes pride in the development of youth to teach not only skills in the sport of soccer but also to teaching them humility and sportsmanship. My son whom I have coached for several years, came up to me at the end of the match and mentioned the same thing. He was also excited for her. He said “Dad, did you see that goal, it was awesome, and did you see who scored it?” It was also that moment that I was reminded that this was all worth it. Sometimes racing to make practice or a game after work, it’s worth it.

Sometimes facing different levels of challanges, it’s worth it.

We do have a strong impact on these young people’s lives and we need to keep ensuring we the leaders and role models have a positive impact. To raise their confidence. To teach them how to work together and play as a team. To play hard and have fun.

So thank you Toronto Azzurri members and leaders for all that you do and represent.

I know I am rambling on but in a world where sometimes the negative seems to take center stage, we also need to share positive moments.



Toronto Azzurri Club History

The Toronto Azzurri was founded in 1968 as the senior expression of the Westwood Young Generation Soccer Club.
This organization has produced some of Canada’s best soccer players, many of whom have gone on to successful careers at a professional level; Players such as Robert Iarusci, Carmine Marc Antonio to name a few. These players played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) with notables such as Pele, Chinaglia, Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Eusebio and other greats.

These men anchored what was the most successful era of Canadian soccer.  Although, as time passed their loud soccer voices became only whispers.

In October 2002, Toronto Azzurri joined forces with the CS Azzurri to have a greater soccer and community presence.  Now they could finally start to give back on their ultimate vision of giving back to the game that gave them so much.

In 2004 the Toronto Azzurri joined up with the North York Hearts to have a stronger high performance team.  As a result the won the 2004 National Championship.


Bob Iarusci – Toronto Azzurri Chairman

(born November 8, 1954 in Toronto) is a former star NASL player and member of the Canadian national soccer team.

bobiarusci_cosmosA right back, Iarusci began his NASL career with his hometown Toronto Metros-Croatia, playing the 1976 and part of 1977. He played every game as the Toronto won the league championship in ’76. Iarusci played nearly the entire 1977 season in Toronto, but was traded at the end of the season to the New York Cosmos where he saw time in one game in 1977. He also played the 1978 season in New York, as they won consecutive Soccer Bowls. He was traded in the Spring of ’79 to the Washington Diplomats and played there two seasons. Iarusci returned to the Cosmos to played 1981 through ’83, and finished with the San Diego Sockers as the league folded following its 1984 season.

Iarusci played 26 times for Canada from 1976 through 1983 and captained the team for a number of games. He scored twice, both in qualification for the 1982 World Cup and playing as sweeper. The first goal on November 1, 1980, in a 2-1 win over the U.S. in Vancouver and the second in Canada’s last match of theCONCACAF finals tournament against Cuba. The game finished 2-2 and Canada, along with Mexico, failed to qualify, finishing a point shy of second place qualifier El Salvador.

Iarusci was an inaugural member of Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, inducted in 2000. He is currently chairman of the Toronto Azzurri Soccer Club and vice president of the North York Hearts Soccer Club. He is a soccer analyst on The Fan 590‘s “The Soccer Show” and also a color commentator for Toronto FC home games on the station.

Mission Statement

The Toronto Azzurri Soccer Club will deliver the highest quality sport programming, with support from our Community’s most knowledgable Soccer experts, within a “Centre of Excellence” Facility to create a fun environment while building character and leadership skills for all its participants.

With various partners, the Toronto Azzurri S.C. will build a Toronto Azzurri Youth Sports Village that provides programs to youth in Northwest Toronto. Those programs will develop positive character and deliver the skills necessary for success in life, both through the conduit of sports. In doing so, we will furnish other communities with flexible, practical templates for their own use and success.

Vision Statement for Toronto Azzurri Youth Sport Village

Like many others, we want to make life better for those less fortunate than us.  Like them, we blaze a path to do that. Like them, we face significant challenges. And like them, we cannot succeed alone. So we will bridge those challenges together. We will house multi-purpose indoor/outdoor facilities for innovative programs in several disciplines. From the world’s most popular, soccer, to one of the world’s oldest, tug of war, as well as several other activities. Through them we will develop the noble character our club members exemplify, and teach skills that are core to a productive life. These characteristics and skills last a lifetime.

Our high performance approach to soccer will be exported and adapted to various other sports, and ventures ranging from community work to job training to academic and life skills mentoring. Our objective, for those who participate in our Village, is success in whatever their chosen pursuits.

In facing our community’s long term challenges, we recognize there are many causes needing help, and too few people able to give that. Through a creative learning cycle, we will develop people from being less fortunate to being highly-skilled, impassioned assets to our communities. In turn, they will lead others in their successful path. In doing so, we will replace the vicious cycle of despair with a new cycle of hope.

Core Attributes
We deeply value the following attributes, which have been core to our success. They can be core to anyone’s success in virtually any pursuit:

Knowledge – Knowing what we need to know, learning that, and applying it. Knowledge + Planning = Preparation

Opportunity – Recognizing and properly using opportunities. Opportunity + Preparation = Success

Leadership – Providing the guidance, motivation knowledge to lead others to achieve goals, no matter how high the obstacles or delayed the gratification. It is not enough to merely create leaders; we must create leaders who will themselves create newer ones.

Passion – Channeling passion as a positive force, providing force, providing efforts, motivation and determination. From passion comes sacrifice, and from that eventual rewards.

Respect – Teamwork, partnerships, and any collaborative efforts require respect of others. Individual success also requires respect of oneself. In either case, it cannot be given; it must be earned.

Character – Our temperament, personality and spirit make up our character, who we are. However, who that is can be made better, character made strong.

We Teach Soccer and Build Character!

Properly Taken Throw-in


This is a question related to the throw-in. I have seen this called, and called it myself many times, but as I now look over the LOTG again, as well as advice, I find no backing for it. It could be that this is one of those that has historical significance and is no longer written, or I may have just been doing it wrong.

The LOTG states that a player must throw the ball with two hands, starting from behind the head. I have seen an addition, in practice, in which the thrower must throw the ball straight in the direction they are facing. For example, a red player taking a throw against blue team. Red player is facing towards blue team’s goal, but angles his arms during the throw to send the ball towards his own defensive player, the opposite direction that he is facing. I have also heard that it is illegal to throw the ball in a way that causes it to spin sideways. What is the correct ruling on this? I look forward to your answer before spring season starts in a couple of weeks.

Continue reading “Properly Taken Throw-in”