GOSHEN – Big dreams have to have big aspirations. That’s just what Tavi Mounsithiraj and his team are trying to create in Goshen.
Looking to fan the flames to what is already a rabid sports community, Mounsithiraj is at the front of the new Goshen Soccer Academy. While the name suggests a soccer-only facility, it’s vision is much, much more according to the founder.
“We’ve honestly already committed to a pair of club teams wanting to train here, so we need to get moving, right?,” said Mounsithiraj, who was sanding paint off an office wall prior to the interview. “It is a labor of love. But we are getting the floor put down, and that’s the biggest thing. Much of the rest of it is cosmetic. Everything here should be 90 percent done by Thanksgiving.”
The work for the facility on Fairfield Drive near Goshen High School has been ongoing for much of the last year, and hopes to be ready to use the first week of December, when the academy plans a soft open. A formal grand opening just after the new year is in the works.
The facility is capable of hosting an array of activities, with the new hardcourt flooring having been laid last week, it will house the capabilities of futsal, basketball, volleyball, pickleball, racquetball, recreational walking, a space for baseball training, and so much more according to Mounsithiraj. Where the GSA hopes to connect the community is its ambition to also serve as a community hub, which could cater to church groups, birthdays and organizational meetings, as well as a central location for kids to meet in a safe zone Mounsithiraj noted Goshen really doesn’t have.
“The Goshen community really doesn’t have a stand alone community center,” Mounsithiraj said. “We’re hoping this can be a place where kids can come after school and play. It will be safe.”
Mounsithiraj, who helped Goshen create a soccer legacy in the 1990s in helping Dwayne Hartzler jettison the Goshen Youth Soccer Organization as well as the Goshen Soccer Federation, is looking to tap into the soccer community to help the GSA gain footing. Still active in the soccer community in and around Goshen after coaching men’s soccer at Goshen College for several years, Mounsithiraj tapped the help of a former Goshen College player, Kyle Stiffney, as well as three others in Austin Bontrager, Jason Bontrager and Mitch Hawkins. With the corporate help of companies like Jayco, the GSA not only aims to help continue to develop one of the strongest soccer communities in the state via Elkhart County, but provide a service to the Goshen community he has served for much of his adult life.
“Having been around soccer my whole life, and teaching it as a coach and playing it, just getting people around it is the best thing,” Mounsithiraj said. “But we don’t want this to just be soccer. We want this to be a community. Yes, soccer is a big part of our history, but the Goshen community is also a big part of that history. We want Goshen to be as much a part of this, but Elkhart County and the surrounding area as well.”