Wally Lomas was a lifelong devotee to and advocate for the sport of soccer in Windsor. He was a prominent member of the area soccer scene as a player and administrator for over 50 years.
Lomas was born in Boothtown, Manchester, England, on March 13, 1901. He passed away on March 25, 1974. He immigrated to Canada in 1924, while in his early twenties, and settled in Windsor.
At the time, the Windsor Salt Company was managed by a group of soccer enthusiasts who entered a team called Chemsals in the Windsor Soccer League. Before long, Lomas was offered a job with the company and a spot on its team. Eventually, he found work at Ford Motor Company, where he stayed until his retirement in 1966.
Lomas played soccer himself until the age of 38. An excellent centre forward, he played for a long list of Windsor Clubs – including the Rovers, Chemsals, Teutonia, and Sons of England – in addition to the Detroit All-Scots.
When his playing career ended, Lomas became very involved as an executive at the administrative level of soccer. One of the most knowledgeable individuals on the game in Southwestern Ontario, he became recognized as “Mr. Soccer” in Windsor and Essex County. In 1948, Lomas became the first President of the Essex County Football Association (now the Essex County Soccer Association). He later served as Secretary-Treasurer and remained with the Association as a member of its board of directors until 1968.
Lomas’ leadership played a critical role in growing the sport of soccer in Windsor-Essex. He was instrumental in establishing the Essex County Youth Soccer Program, which was the forerunner to the many youth soccer clubs that exist in Essex County today.
From 1953 to ’60, Lomas served on the Executive Board of the Ontario Football Association, which later became the Ontario Soccer Association. He was President from 1960 to ’65, making him the only person from the Windsor area to hold that role in the Association’s long history.
At the time of his death, Lomas was the unofficial historian of local soccer. From 1964 to ’74, he was the Windsor Star’s soccer correspondent. In that role, he kept the newspaper and the public informed of all soccer activities in Southwestern Ontario. His residence at 1636 Moy Avenue contained bulging files of records that catalogued every manner of soccer activity in our region over the years. Due to Lomas’ thorough knowledge of the rules of soccer, numerous area and regional leagues frequently called upon him for his guidance and recommendations and to find solutions to disputes.
Lomas was highly respected by the local and provincial soccer communities for his honesty, integrity, and fairness. During his 50 years of involvement with the sport, he did not receive any remuneration for service to the game of soccer, nor did he seek any. His was a genuine love for the game.
In 1969, Ontario Premier John Robarts presented Lomas with a Distinguished Service Award for his untiring work on behalf of the sport of soccer.
On the occasion of Lomas’ passing in March, 1974, a Windsor Star article paid tribute: “In the interest of serving a Sport on a lifelong, community basis, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put anyone in the same rank with Wally Lomas. Those of us in the Sports Department enjoyed long fondness and respect for Lomas. He seemed part of us. We relied heavily on him. The soccer people relied heavily on him. This was a man who gave everything of himself to the Sport he loved.”