through soccer & education

What we do:

Heart of the City strives to level the playing field for kids in Lake County, IL by providing access to quality soccer and educational programs that can serve as a youth development pathway.

We use soccer as a medium to teach kids important life skills that will help them succeed -- on and off the field! 


affordable, high quality programs


support for post-secondary success


volunteer stewardship opportunities

Who we serve:

Youth ages 4-19 in Lake County, IL, with approximately 70% qualifying for free & reduced lunch.

Our Pathway:

Camps & Clinics

free, introductory experiences for the community

Soccer Academy

a developmental in-house program for boys & girls ages 4-13

HOTC Elite

a competitive soccer program with college-readiness support for boys & girls ages 8-19

And Beyond

our programs help prepare youth for post-secondary success!

"Our youth have enjoyed their programming experience with Heart of the City. The youth appreciate having a remarkable coach that helps improve their skills while still having fun! They are not provided many opportunities to play soccer in a structured environment and Heart of the City gives them that opportunity."


Amy Lomax, Program Development Manager - Boys & Girls Club of Lake County

"Heart of the City exemplifies what it means to be a strong organization. Between its community involvement, educational opportunities and putting its players in the best position to succeed in life, Heart of the City does it all. Heart of the City provides an opportunity for children of all ages to compete and learn. It is a pleasure to work with Heart of the City to provide the best opportunities for this community."


Brett Pomeroy, Recreation Specialist - Waukegan Park District

“I love what y’all do here. It’s not about winning at all cost. My son was playing at a different soccer league and he would say ‘Dad this isn’t fun’. Here the coaches are a lot more involved teaching all the players and moving them around in different positions. You can see they care about developing players.”


Brandon K., Soccer Academy parent

"Being a soccer enthusiast for 62 years now, I see certain clubs that are made strictly to win, strictly to dominate, strictly to be a driving force to get trophies and awards, and then I see Heart of the City -- who certainly would love to be in those categories, too -- but the most important thing for Heart of the City is the development of the children.

In Waukegan, there are children in single-parent households, there are children with absent parents, there are children basically who have no direction, no structure. Heart of the City provides them a very structured environment where they learn to be responsible, and they learn to be efficient in what they do. And that’s something that many are not getting at home. I’m very proud to be associated with Heart of the City."

Wayne Motley, Former Waukegan Mayor

“I love how all of the coaches work with all of the players. They’ll demo the moves they're working on for that week, and they have the patience to breakdown each movement so everyone understand how to perform steps. Heart of the City has the best coaches that care about making the experience enjoyable and challenging.”


Eunice J., parent from after-school clinic

Check out our new video: Tyrayna's Story

Important COVID-19 Update On Heart of the City Programs:

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic there are many precautions that are taking place on a local and national level. We are frequently checking the Lake County Health Department and CDC website for updates.

As of right now, Heart of the City's program offices are closed until March 30th, but staff are still available through phone and email. Please dial the main line, 847-623-6200, if you have questions or need any information.

Program updates can be found below:

- March 13 & 14 Final games were cancelled. We are waiting to hear if and when they will be rescheduled.

- League games, practices and IYSA sanctioned tournaments are postponed until April 15th.

- Spring Soccer Academy is scheduled to start on April 13th. In the likelihood we have postpone this program, we will update you immediately. All grassroots programs are suspended until further notice.

- All volunteer sessions have been cancelled.

All staff, membership and participants should be aware of the Coronavirus risk and take the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to germs. This includes maintaining good hygiene practices. We strongly recommend the following:

- Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time

- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; this is suggested after any physical contact with another person or with a shared surface

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue, if possible - when coughing or sneezing, then properly discard the tissue in the trash

- Avoid close contact with anyone else who is coughing or sneezing or who is otherwise sick

- Clean or disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

We strongly encourage your child to stay home If he/she or anyone in your household experience any of the following symptoms:

- Fever

- Cough

- Shortness of breath

Please visit the website below for more information regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19…/Coronavirus-Disease-2019-COV…

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at 847-623-6200 ex.1

Thank you,

HOTC Staff

Exciting News!

We are SO excited to be partnering with the United Soccer Coaches Foundation - For The Good Of The Game initiative in 2020!

In January, our staff was presented with a $1,000 check at the Foundation Celebration in Baltimore. This award will help us implement our Referee Certification Clinic, enabling our youth with a way to earn extra income and gain stackable credentials and job skills.

Thank you, United Soccer Coaches Foundation!


Upcoming Events

  • Feb. 3, 10: Learn 9 soccer clinics
  • Feb. 8: Calumet College visit
  • Feb. 11: Marian University college visit
  • Feb. 15: Referee Certification Clinic, 7:30-12:30pm
  • Feb. 15, 5-7pm: Prisma After Dark during ArtWauk
  • Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25: Boys & Girls Club soccer clinics
  • Feb. 28, 5:30-8:30pm: Heart of the City Paint & Sip event at Nightshade & Dark's Pandemonium Brewery!
  • March 12: College Fair - HS Boys
  • March 20-22 Memphis College Showcase Tournament - HOTC Elite HS Boys
  • April 13 - May 20, Soccer Academy - Spring Session
  • June 20: SoccerWauk/Heart of the City end-of-season celebration
  • July 24-26: Soccer in the Sand tournament, Waukegan Municipal Beach

Stay Connected!