By: Diane Benjamin
Illinois Fire Juniors and Prairie City Soccer League announced today a plan to build their own complex on 100 acres bordered by Raab Rd, Towanda Avenue, and Old Route 66. the claim to have raised $3.5 million in cash, pledges, and in-kind donations. None of it is from government, although it is not known what infrastructure improvements will be needed.
From a Press Release today:
The IFJ capital campaign aims to bring private financial support to our community wide efforts to provide continued excellence and access to travel and recreation soccer programs for current and future generations.
The IFJ plan, which includes a 100 acre complex with lights, turf, bathrooms, concessions, and an indoor training area, will be designed to not only accommodate soccer, but to also allow for use by other sports such as Lacrosse, Cricket, and Football.
“We understand this complex is not just about our kids, just about our club, or just about soccer” said Jeremy Kelley, Illinois Fire Juniors Secretary and Co-Chair of the IFJ Capital Campaign. “Our members have seen first-hand how other communities benefit from the growing sports tourism industry. When we started this effort a few years back, we were not just thinking about our soccer club, we were also thinking about the positive impact this can have on our larger community.’
‘Being a part of the Chicago Fire franchise and the U.S. Youth Soccer Association, provides even greater access to opportunities year-round,’ explains Tim Koch, President of Illinois Fire Juniors and the Prairie Cities Soccer League (PCSL). ‘Some of these future soccer opportunities include additional tournaments, Presidents Cup/State Cup matches, and Olympic Development Program (ODP) trainings. Partnering with the Chicago Fire, the IHSA, areas high schools, and our local universities provides even greater opportunities. We know this is a unique moment in time where if we dream just a bit bigger and get this right, we have a chance to positively impact our entire community.’
What ultimately has emerged from the IFJ Capital Campaign is a bold plan to transition away from Community Fields and transform towards a multi sports complex that can become a regional tournament headquarters in the Midwest.
The IFJ Capital Campaign includes three goals:
The complex implementation plan has three phases. Phase 1 will start as soon as possible and focus on the infrastructure work needed for the complex, leveling the ground to prepare for the main playing surface area, and building a new pond that will double as a regional water retention basin for the area. Phase 2 concentrates on expanded fields and parking, while Phase 3 focuses on an indoor facility.
Once completed, the entire complex will hold 10 full sized, 400 feet by 300 feet fields, 7 youth sized 7 v 7 fields, a championship field, and room for a 280 foot by 560 foot indoor training facility.
Bordered by Raab road on the north, Towanda avenue on the west, Route 66 on the south, and Veterans Parkway on the east, this prime location right off the highway is close to many IFJ club members and will provide easy access to thousands from across the Midwest who will drive to the complex and spend time and money right here in our community.
More information is available on the Illinois Fire Juniors website: https://www.illinoisfirejuniors.com/