The Proto club, a member and flagship of the Hamilton and District Oldtimers Soccer League, was formed in 1982 by six friends Vincent Valeri, Guido De Luca, Tony Ferro, Bruno Toffolon, Peter Faley, and Ezio Colle, mostly members of the successful Saltfleet team of the SOSL. The team hit full stride in 1983 with the coming of age of NSL and Ontario champions Hamilton Italo Canadians. FF Binbrook, Gizio, Italia, and East Hamilton, all strong area contenders followed suit and the club grew from 1 to the present 4 teams.
The Proto club is one of this area’s most successful clubs of all time. With over a dozen “A” Division League Championships, as many playoff Challenge Cups, and over half a dozen Spectator Cups, plus another handful or so in other Divisions, in its 35 year history, there is little argument on the validity of this statement. Proto has also won a host of national and international tournaments. Check out “achievements” in Proto’s website http://protosoccer.com/club-achievements-2/.
Not bad for a club that places as much importance on camaraderie, skills in the kitchen, winemaking, team picnics, and AGM’s (Annual Gran Mangiatas) than soccer skills. Those who have witnessed “Proto-types” in action often observe that their skills with the soccer ball are only surpassed by their skills with a fork.
To trivialize Proto as just an old-timer’s club is a disservice. Proto members, past and present, are involved with every facet of the game, on a club, league, association, Hall of Fame, and national level. In just the last two years 3 Proto coaches have won provincial championships with their young charges, and many others are involved coaching at the grassroots level and up. Amongst our members we have counted a professional soccer team owner, managers, players, coaches, councilors, an ex-mayor, and even a Canada Government House Leader. It was once jokingly said that in order to be elected you had to be a member of Proto. Several of our players played pro and have won or been on provincial and national teams. Some have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Proto also have their own field and club house.
The club’s charitable and social activities are second to none. Proto raised over $15,000 each for two paraplegic kids, including Joey Boudreau, unattached to Proto, who sustained permanent debilitating injuries as a result of an indoor soccer accident. Every year we raise money for calamities, injured and departed teammates, the Food Bank, Sick Children and other great causes.
Over the years we stayed the course that good people and good corporate citizens, who enjoy each other’s company, mixed with some good soccer skills, are the perfect formula for a great club. We have not yet been proven wrong.