We have humble origins years and miles in the making! It’s a long story, especially if James tells it, but here’s the shorter version!!
Our ‘Windsor Warriors Athletic Football Club’ journey started off sounding like a bad joke: “two over the hill former rugby playing Welshmen, who don’t know each other but once lived on the same road in Wales, literally ‘bump’ into one another playing over 40’s soccer on a Sunday in Northern Colorado”! Hilarious and very true! We both hailed from the same Welsh home town of Swansea, both came over to America after graduating from University to play competitive rugby and then, bizarrely, ended up living in Windsor with our families and, stranger still, both coached our daughter’s youth soccer teams through the Windsor Recreation Department! Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!!
James was a few years ahead of Ceri when he first coached his older daughters on the ‘Windsor Dragons’ Travel Rec teams he created several years ago, but when one daughter stopped playing and the other joined the Arsenal Soccer Club to play competitively, he took a break from coaching. Ceri, along with our current Director of Business and Marketing, Chris Thomas, and Matt Golombowski, currently our Refereeing and Program Director, had been coaching their daughters within the Windsor Travel Rec program since U8’s and he named the team the ‘Windsor Warriors’. James and Ceri became very close ‘mates’ and, over a few pints one evening, Ceri asked James if he would like to ‘guest coach’ a Warriors training session and the rest, as they say, is history!
The U14 girls team was joined by another local U12 team coached by Katie Pelkey, current Board of Directors member and Club ‘Event Coordinator’. We were then joined by Megan Casterline, Collin Smalley and Ben Wallace’s teams (our OG’s’ and all still loyal WWAFC coaches!) and the ‘snowball’ just kept gathering momentum. As more teams joined our group, a shared vision started to materialize about the creation of an actual Windsor based ‘all girls’ Colorado Soccer Association (CSA) affiliated Club. There was no ‘grand design’ for a certain number of teams or players, rather, just a shared philosophy that we spent hours discussing which was based on a dream of creating a ‘grassroots community based’ Club that mirrored the sort of Welsh rugby/soccer environment that Ceri and James had been raised in. One that would hold true to the strong values and principles that guide us. One that would welcome players and coaches of all ages, levels of commitment and ability. One that would offer families excellent ‘value for money’. One that was ‘Club Soccer Reimagined’ as our friend Chris Thomas once said!
A lot of work ensued behind the scenes to construct the framework for our organization and, in the Winter of 2021, our CSA application was incredibly approved on our ‘first attempt’ and the ‘Windsor Warriors Athletic Football Club’ was officially created! We intentionally named ourselves an ‘Athletic Football Club’ as this is common in the UK but it was actually centered on our hope that in the future we can potentially provide a vehicle for other sports and youth athletic development in this community!
Our Club was ‘born’ out of one team of 15 girls, many of whom have now been playing for the Warriors since U8! In under 4 years, we have organically grown to 15 teams, over 200 players and more than 20 coaches across both ‘Intermediate’ (aka ‘Travel Rec’) and ‘Competitive’ levels of play! And now, as of the Spring of 2023, we are thrilled to welcome boys teams to our Club as this means we can now truly cater to most soccer needs in Windsor and the surrounding area! Additionally, we are excited to have entered into a brand partnership with the Italian company ‘Macron’, one of Europe's Team Apparel leaders, to become our official uniform and fan gear provider! ‘Macron’ is aligned with many of our Club’s values and, like us, they consider themselves a bit ‘different’ than their peers in the marketplace; they are assuredly going to gain a large presence in the North American team sports market so we are very pleased to become one of their early ‘adopters’ in Colorado!
Friends, we believe our future is very bright and that we can have a positive impact on our community through helping to nurture the development of our young people. The speed of our Club’s evolution has candidly surprised us but we continue to run the WWAFC with the same level of passion, pride, wonder, humility and appreciation that we had with only one girls Travel Rec team - as Ceri often puts it, “we’re building an airplane in the sky”!! It is truly our privilege to lead this incredible collection of kids, parents, coaches, administrators and sponsorship partners! This is a legacy project that we hope will outlive us all; thank you for believing and joining us in our journey together!
Ceri Jones and James Walters - Club Founders