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Unionville Milliken men's team line up before kick off

A Bluffer’s Guide to Unionville Milliken

By James Anstee, 06/15/22, 9:00AM EDT


The Markham-based club has used the power of volunteers to build a soccer empire that’s making an impact through L1O divisions.

Unionville Milliken men's team line up before kick off

Starting as a youth soccer club in 1976, Unionville Milliken (UMSC) have gone from strength to strength and now compete in both League1 Ontario Premier Divisions.

UMSC began with the purpose of creating a soccer team for young locally-based players. The club runs soccer training for children aged three through to adults.

More and more people joined UMSC as the years rolled by, and in 2011 the club’s membership surpassed 3,000 players and 250 coaches and team managers. They also had around 350 volunteers to ensure the club met the local demand.

Many talented youngsters have been part of UMSC, including Kennedy Faulknor, who in December 2015 became the youngest ever centre-back to represent the Canadian Women’s National Team. Later that month she was also named the Canadian U17 Women's Player of the Year from Ontario.

As membership numbers grew from strength to strength, the Unionville Milliken board began to consider entering teams into L1O. This dream was finally realised in 2017 when a UMSC women’s team entered the Premier Division for the first time.

Unionville Milliken Women's Premier Division players smiling

Unionville Milliken Women's Premier Division players.

During their first season, the women’s team finished in fourth position – an exemplar way to make a good first impression.

This remains their best finishing position in the league to date after not competing in the 2021 Premier Division season. Head coach Paul Omoghan is the man in charge of the women’s side, currently sitting in 16th position after three wins on the bounce in May.

Striker Olivia Allen has already turned heads in the league this season with five goals, and Shana Flynn and Samantha Chang have also been Team of the Week selections having been standout performers so far this campaign.

The 2018 season saw UMSC expand to the Men’s Premier Division with a fully professional team. This came from a partnership between former York Region Shooters owner Tony De Thomasis and UMSC coach Filipe Bento.

Did you know? Unionville Milliken men’s team have had two goalkeepers feature in Team of the Week selections already this season.

For the 2022 season, Bento remains the head coach of the men’s team that he helped create. They currently sit 14th in the league after collecting 10 points from their first four games.

Goalkeepers Jared Maloney and Tayjon Campbell have been competitive between the sticks this season, the latter playing five games to the former’s three, and both have made it into Teams of the Week this season; so too has striker Joshua Alegria.

UMSC finished just above midtable in their inaugural campaign, beating eventual champions Vaughan Azzurri in the regular season. They fell short in the playoffs that year and finished in the bottom half in 2019, before securing fourth in the East Conference in 2021.

Unionville Milliken striker Olivia Allen crossing the ball

Unionville Milliken's Olivia Allen crossing the ball.

The club also competes in each of the Reserve Divisions, building a pathway for both the male and female players who are repping UMSC while looking for a route to the professional levels of the game.

Alumni who played for UMSC’s men’s team in L1O have gone on to have a range of careers  in soccer. Joseph Di Chiara and Cale Loughrey now play in the Canadian Premier League, while former Jamaica international Richard Edwards works in the Brampton Soccer Club technical staff, and Taylor Lord and John Smits are college and university coaches respectively.

The variety of opportunities that have been pursued by former UMSC players is testament to the way the club develops well-rounded players and people.

Unionville Milliken's men's team defending a corner

Unionville Milliken's men's team defending a corner.