Soccer has the prestige of being one of Western’s oldest sports traditions. The sport saw its first intercollegiate showing in 1907 with an exhibition match against the University of Toronto. Though Western had a strong first attempt, interest in the sport began to decline as Canada entered the First World War. The sport was re-introduced in 1927 and quickly regained its popularity, however Western didn’t re-enter intercollegiate play until 1930. Herbert Jenkin, a French professor, served as an influential head coach for twenty years in this early period.
Western was able to capture its first intercollegiate soccer title in 1936, winning the Blackwood Cup and completing the season undefeated. The Blackwood Cup, first awarded in 1934, is presented annually to the school who has won the Ontario University Athletics championship. The following season, the Mustangs repeated their success by again winning the Blackwood Cup, this time with a slightly less impressive record of four wins, one loss and one tie.
Soccer continued to grow in popularity in the years following the 1937-38 victory but Western was unable to achieve another intercollegiate championship until almost fifty-nine years later in 1997. Though unable to win a championship, Western’s soccer teams continued to perform well, placing within the top four standings many times. In 1950, for example, Western placed third overall, a feat they repeated in 1953. The 1960s saw the same success, with the Mustangs placing second overall in the 1963-64 season. This level of success continued through the 1970s and 1980s with Western teams making it to the Ontario Universities Athletic Association finals in both 1970 and 1984.
After a rough start to the 1996-97 season the Mustangs, under the leadership of coach Rock Basacco, went on to win fifteen consecutive games and captured the Blackwood Cup, a feat they had been unable to do in over five decades. Following on this success, Western went on to win their first national intercollegiate soccer crown in 1998.
For information on women's soccer at Western, click here.