By Brian Marchetti
With a love for the game and a passion for both its physical and emotional benefits, the Chicago City Soccer Club has expanded into the Beverly/Morgan Park area.
The not-for-profit organization, founded by Nick Mulvaney in 2013, started on Chicago’s North Side. Originally called the Chicago Lakefront Attack Soccer Club, Mulvaney rebranded the organization to include the entire city.
“When I came in as the director of coaching in 2011, there were 80 kids and around ten teams,” Mulvaney said. “We are now close to 1200 kids and 70 teams across Chicagoland with the first USL (United Soccer League)Academy in the state of Illinois.”
Mulvaney has a wealth of experience in the game. A native of Dublin, Ireland, he came to the United States on an athletic scholarship to William Carey University in Mississippi. In his senior year, he served as the soccer team captain and assistant coach and coached the JV soccer team.
After playing for a number of professional soccer clubs post college, Mulvaney decided to return to coaching, something he had been passionate about since the age of sixteen. Due to his love and knowledge of the game, Chicago City Soccer Club has earned some prestigious awards.
“We are an Illinois Youth Soccer Association Five Star competitive club,” Mulvaney said. “It’s a prestigious award for a club with such a short existence. This is an award for an organization that has promoted excellence both on and off the field. Through coach development and education, parent education, referee development, risk management and sideline behavior.”
The organization offers programs for children as young as 18 months old and up through college and beyond. They have a diverse staff of 25 full-time and five part-time coaches from all over the world, including Serbia, Mexico, and New Zealand. They are also the only club to have both male and female pre-professional players under one umbrella.
While soccer remains the central mission of the club, the life lessons gained from playing in a team sport are central to the club’s purpose.
“It is important to our organization that through our pay to play model, we are providing long term development both on and off the field for our players and coaches,” Mulvaney said. “We have provided over $1.5 million of financial aid over ten years as we never want a player to miss out on the opportunity to play sports. We know the positive impact it can have on a young athlete.”
In order to maintain a culture that fosters both athleticism and mental health, Chicago City Soccer plans to launch a mentorship program this spring. They will work with Adler University students as sports performance coaches to support players both on and off the field.
“The kids need a safe place to play in everyday life,” Mulvaney said.
Tryouts for the upcoming 2023-24 season will take place in April and May. Exact details haven’t been released yet, but when available, they will appear on the website, chicagocitysoccerclub.com.
In addition to teams, the organization offers free clinics, after school programs, regional training opportunities, summer camps, and instruction to specialty positions like goalkeepers.
“We have everything for all ages and levels of soccer,” Mulvaney said.