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The Aurora Arsenal Soccer Club


The Aurora Arsenal Soccer Club, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1975. Its purpose then was to provide recreation in the Town of Aurora for post high school men, 18 to 25 years of age, as well to be a spectator sport for any age group. The Founding Board consisted of Nipp Brown, Tim Buchanan, Norm Dusel, Don Hagen, Grant Hamilton, Bob Hatch, Ab Henshaw, Mike Hill, Jim McCready, Cal Potwin and Don Wagner. Also instrumental were Lee Austin and Ed Vidler as well as many other community minded individuals.

In the early days, the Town of Aurora Recreation Department supplied operation costs and entry fees, while sponsors supplied shirts with team names and numbers. Players provided their own socks, shorts and any special equipment. The original sponsor list includes many names still familiar to East Aurorans today, including Kelsey Jewelers, S-G Press, East Aurora Advertiser, Vidlers 5 & 10, Reed's Liquor Store, Holmes & Sons AMC Dealer, Thomas Drug and Tops. A few have since departed, including Hill's Stationery, East Aurora Hardware, Max Kadet Mens Clothing, Millard J. Fischer Appliances, and Friendly Clem's Super Duper.

The name 'Arsenal' was selected from among a number of suggestions, looking for a name that would pinpoint a uniquely East Aurora theme or place. Contenders included: Main Street Marauders (if sponsors were located on Main St.), Aurora Old Boys (signifying that the players were out of high school), Aurora Pacers (from our trotting era), Aurora Townies or Towners, Aurora Wagstins, Aurora Soccos and Auroran 20's. Arsenal was selected for its English sounding name and the tie-in to the fortress looking entrance of the Town Hall building on South Grove St. The original Arsenal logo was designed for the club by famed local artist Rix Jennings, who was also one of its original sponsors. Since then the logo has been updated.

Since those early days, the scope and size of the Arsenal program has expanded considerably, while maintaining the central tenet of providing recreational opportunities through youth soccer leagues in East Aurora. It remains a totally volunteer organization, dedicated to providing a safe, healthy environment in which children can learn teamwork and sportsmanship, while playing the world's most popular sport. In 2003 we serviced approximately 1,000 children and young adults, ranging in age from 5 through 19, making us one of the largest clubs in Western New York. Almost 700 of our children play on over 50 House League teams, which focus on basic soccer skills in a non-competitive environment. Our youngest House players (5-8) play in a small sided program tailored to emphasize maximum ball touches. The emphasis in House is on learning basic individual skills along with the introduction of the fundamental rules and positions. Every player is guaranteed to play at least 50% of every game. Most importantly, the players have fun while developing a love of the sport. Our Travel program has grown to a record 18 teams, competing at every age level in the Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League (B&WNYJSL). These teams emphasize and develop more advanced individual skills and strategic play while staying true to the Club's ideals of teamwork and sportsmanship. Players must try out to earn a spot on a Travel team as well as demonstrate a higher level of commitment once they are accepted. That commitment has been rewarded often, with many teams appearing in local and regional championship games.

The Arsenal Board of 8 members, along with other dedicated non-board volunteers work diligently each spring and throughout the year to handle the numerous tasks associated with running a program this large. This includes registration, ordering equipment and uniforms, lining the fields, conducting tryouts, organizing teams and scheduling games, just to name a few. The explosive growth of soccer in East Aurora may not have been anticipated by the Arsenal 'founding fathers', but they laid a solid foundation on which the program has been able to build successfully for almost thirty years. With the same community support and dedication, we expect and hope that the next thirty years will be just as successful as the last.
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