Croatia Sports Club






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Croatia Sport Club  RR 3 Lcd 3, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z6 519-966-1423


Croatian club celebrates 50 years of sports heritage

Tony Lalic stands next to a soccer net at the Croatian National Sports Club in Windsor. (The Windsor Star / TYLER BROWNBRIDGE)Tony Lalic stands next to a soccer net at the Croatian National Sports Club in Windsor. (The Windsor Star / TYLER BROWNBRIDGE)

Sarah Sacheli
Aug 02, 2012 – 1:45 PM EST
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2012 – 2:27 PM EST

For people like Tony Lalic, this weekend is all about tradition.

Windsor’s Croatian National Sports Club celebrates its 50th anniversary with a two-day celebration Saturday and Sunday. The soccer pitches and bocce courts will be busy. Pigs and lambs will roast on spits and there will be cevapi grilling on the barbecue. Croatian bands will play and children can get their cheeks painted with the country’s red and white checkered crest.

The event is such a milestone that one of the heads of the Croatian National Soccer Federation is flying in from Zagreb. Croatia’s Ambassador to Canada, Veselko Grubisic, will also take part in the celebrations.

“It gives us great pride to celebrate our 50th anniversary,” said Lalic, club spokesman. “This is the club our parents founded for us to keep our heritage alive.”

Much of that heritage revolves around sports. On any given day at the club’s Concession 8 park just north of Highway 401, you can find a few soccer games and a bocce match or two taking place. The club puts on soccer camps for children as young as four. There’s a senior men’s recreational league that includes the parish priest. When its time to hang up the cleats, men can join the club’s bocce league.

Last month, the club hosted an international youth soccer tournament for Croatian clubs from across Ontario and as far away as Cleveland and Chicago. The event drew more than 2,000 people to the city.

“Sports is an important part of our culture,” Lalic said. “It’s important to a lot of European cultures. It represents national pride, friendship and camaraderie.”

Croatia became an independent republic in 1991. But long before then, Windsor was a settlement for Croatian immigrants to Canada. The city boasts the first Croatian parish in Canada. St. Francis of Assisi was founded in 1950.

Croatia Park, with its pavilion and sports bar, has become a hub for the area’s Croatian community, estimated at close to 6,000 members strong.

For this weekend’s two-day celebration, the park gates will open at 9 a.m.

There will be non-stop soccer games for youth during the day. The club’s men’s teams play Sunday afternoon, including a reunion of the 1995 Ontario Cup championship team playing the senior men’s team at 4 p.m.

Saturday night, the club will host what’s called a Luda Noc party with live music. The adults-only event begins at 8 p.m..
On Sunday, there’s a formal banquet at 1 p.m., and children’s activities all day.

“Visitors are welcome,” Lalic said. “We are happy to share our heritage with others.”







12-5-2013 1-07-41 AM     Tecumseh Travel Soccer Club




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