We believe that the heart of soccer is the health of local clubs. Local clubs inspire passion for the sport by creating lifelong relationships, developing essential infrastructure for future generations, supporting coaches, referees, and players, and making soccer an integral part of the local community and economy. We therefore seek to provide the challenges and personal opportunities our most ambitious players demand as they pursue goals such as winning state titles and college recruitment while continuing to grow local clubs.
The Illinois Alliance is a joint venture between Illinois Futbol Club and MidState Soccer Club. The DOCs of the two clubs will share final decision-making authority in all matters. Additional coaches and administrators will be added with the goal of a 50/50 split in responsibility and opportunity.
The Illinois Alliance will register teams made up of players from both IFC and MidState. These teams are meant to be supplemental to their respective club teams rather than in place of. Illinois Alliance teams will seek to train together when possible during the course of the club season (spring and/or fall) before more regular training during club off seasons. For example, a U16 Girls team for Illinois Alliance might train together once a month from August to October, then train multiple times in November before attending one or more tournaments during the winter. That same team might then resume training in the summer. Members of the Illinois Alliance team would still train weekly and attend tournaments with their respective club teams.
By adding opportunities to play with Illinois Alliance without disrupting the traditional club season, we believe players will benefit more than having to choose one or the other.
• Players will leave their comfort zone without having to leave their friends and long-time teammates.
• Players will get to experience different soccer roles, responsibilities, and positions. A player who has always started for their local club might have to fight for playing time on their Illinois Alliance team. A player who has had to play forward year after year at their club might discover a talent at another spot when playing with different teammates.
• Players will be exposed to multiple coaches. If a player struggles to connect with an Illinois Alliance coach they will have a built-in support system through their local club to help the new coach better understand each individual.
• Players and parents are less likely to burn out on travel. During spring and fall players will still spend most of their time locally. Out of state travel or driving to practice in another town will be less likely to disrupt school since it will mostly take place on weekends, in the summer, or over winter break.
• When players play for their club team they will bring their new experiences from Illinois Alliance with them, making their teammates better as well. This becomes a virtuous cycle. Illinois Alliance players return to their club team in fall or spring and improve the level of play. The team is able to play in more competitive tournaments, making the Illinois Alliance player improve as well. She then returns to Illinois Alliance in the off-season and pushes her Illinois Alliance teammates to improve and play in stronger competitions.
• Because Illinois Alliance will utilize the coaches and infrastructure of MidState and IFC, it is not necessary for Illinois Alliance to maintain a certain profit margin to cover overhead and unexpected costs. Costs to players can be minimized so that regional play can be offered to more players.
Q: The initial invitation was to high school girls and 2009 and 2010 boys. How many teams will there be?
A: Teams will be based on interest and quality. If we have enough players to play at a high level we would like to have teams at different high school ages and/or separate teams for the 09 and 10 boys. Our first goal, however, is quality of play. We’d rather see some players play up an age division if that is what will best promote their growth rather than put together multiple teams just for the sake of numbers.
Q: Will there be teams at other age groups?
A: These ages were chosen based on our expected interest level within each group. By focusing on two or three teams initially we hope to set a strong foundation for future growth at other ages.
Q: I can’t attend the August training. Will there be other opportunities to join the team?
A: Because players will still be playing with their club team in the fall, every player who is interested will get a chance to be seen by coaches. We will schedule additional Illinois Alliance training times once both IFC and MidState have finalized their fall schedules and rosters.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: Cost to players will basically reflect cost to the clubs (e.g., tournament fees, field rental, coach pay). Uniform costs will be kept low (likely just a dry-fit shirt rather than a complete kit).
Q: Who is running training? Where will future trainings be held?
A: Once teams have been formed, coaches will be announced & future trainings will be balanced between Decatur & Rantoul.