CHICAGO, IL (May 11, 2012) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday that the travel component of the Plainfield Soccer Association Legends will become an affiliate of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and will be known as the Chicago Fire Juniors West. The new Chicago Fire Juniors West is one of nine clubs in the Chicago Fire Juniors family, the fourth in the Chicagoland area and the third in the state of Illinois. Since 2008, the Fire’s youth development program has grown from 400 participants to more than 10,000 across seven states.
“The creation of Chicago Fire Juniors West provides local youth soccer players the opportunity to grow and develop under the banner of their hometown club,” said Chicago Fire Vice President of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei. “A partnership with a community-oriented club such as PSA gives more young players in the Chicagoland area access to a professional environment while providing opportunities to join our Academy and first team similar to the Juniors programs across the nation.”
Tracing its roots back to 1982, the PSA Legends are dedicated to providing a family-oriented, community feel to the club along with an overall great soccer experience. Members are encouraged to attend both recreation and competitive games. In addition to organized trips to Chicago Fire games, the PSA Legends participate in community outreach events in conjunction with all four of the Plainfield high schools, including volunteering at the local food pantries.
“As we take our next step in the growth of soccer in-and-around our community, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Chicago Fire,” said PSA board president Rob Ayers. “Over the past two years, the organization has worked tirelessly to find the perfect fit to continue our momentum. The Fire is dedicated to creating and maintaining fans and soccer players of all ages and we are fortunate to be working closely with the Fire as we move forward to provide a well-rounded soccer experience for all members of our community.”
In addition to their recreational program that has more than 3,000 participants, the PSA Legends currently have 37 travel teams, including 19 girls teams and 18 boys travel teams. With over 90 percent of the teams made up of Plainfield residents, the PSA Legends are truly the community’s club.
“This partnership and our alignment with the Fire, a leader in player development, further signifies our desire to provide all players in our club, regardless of gender or ability, with the inspiration and structure to continue to advance in the game,” said PSA Director of Coaching Steve Morris. “We now have continuous steps in the development pyramid so that our players can aspire to reach the Fire first team or take part in the new Elite Girls Program initiative.”
In conjunction with the announcement of the new partnership, PSA will be hosting a Public Town Hall Meeting on Friday, May 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Eagle Point Elementary School in Plainfield, Ill. This event will be attended by representatives from the Chicago Fire Player Development department who will present an outline of programming for the upcoming season and be available to answer any questions about the partnership.
Tryouts for the U-8 through U-18 age groups, boys and girls, will take place in May and June at Van Horn Woods in Plainfield, Ill. For more information, visit http://www.chicagofirejuniorswest.com.
The Chicago Fire Juniors program was formed to train area youth in a professionally run environment and has since expanded to include branches in Chicago, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky. Through the Juniors program, players ages eight-years-old to 18-years-old receive professionally developed curriculum to help build skill and knowledge of the game. The Juniors program has seen direct results, including the signing of Mississippi Fire Juniors product Kellen Gulley to the first team.