CHICAGO (May 30, 2014) — The Carmel United Soccer Club (CUSC) and Westfield Youth Soccer Club (WYSA) announced Thursday that the two clubs will merge to become the Indiana Fire Juniors Soccer Club, a Chicago Fire Soccer Club affiliation. With more than 1,200 travel players and more than 1,500 recreational players, the new club will be the largest and most comprehensive youth soccer organization in Indiana.
“We are excited to welcome two top-caliber youth soccer programs to the Fire family as they come together and form a united organization,” said Chicago Fire Chief Operating Officer Atul Khosla. “We look forward to working together to grow the game throughout Indiana and enhance the soccer experience for the community’s youth and families.”
Upon evaluating the opportunity to affiliate with Major League Soccer and the Fire, both clubs’ leadership came to an agreement to merge, allowing the new organization to extend its reach, offer more programs and resources, provide new playing facilities and create a greater platform for the membership.
“We are pleased to introduce ourselves as the Indiana Fire Juniors,” said CUSC President Ken Yerkes. “With our strong combined coaching staff and the many Chicago Fire resources, we anticipate a future filled with champion-caliber teams and players who excel beyond their expectations.”
“This affiliation makes sense on all levels,” added WYSA President Mark Anderson. “It brings together two of the largest, strongest soccer clubs in Indiana and pairs us with MLS, an exciting and growing league. Every player can thrive and grow in this new setting.”
The opportunity stems from a three-year partnership between the Fire and Carmel United’s USSDA program, the Indiana Fire Academy. Launched in 2011, the Indiana Fire Academy has become the leader in player development within the state of Indiana, with exclusive invites to MLS tournaments and events.
The merger also grants Fire Juniors players access to the Elite Club National League (ECNL), the highest platform for girls youth in the United States. As Carmel United’s ECNL membership carries over, the new club will become the first Fire affiliate to be a part of the prestigious platform.
The Indiana Fire Juniors will also continue to have access to the Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Ind., utilizing the new, state-of-the-art facility as its home playing and training venue.
“Grand Park started out as an idea just a few years ago; now it’s not only the largest sports complex of its kind in the county, but it’s drawing partnerships with nationally known organizations like the Chicago Fire,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “Grand Park was built so teams such as the Indiana Fire Juniors could use the facilities for their programs and help make the City of Westfield a national destination.”
For more details on the merger or to obtain tryout information, please visit www.indianafirejuniors.com.