Heart of the City uses soccer as a way to teach youth essential life skills, train them as leaders and mentors, and connect them with postsecondary opportunities. Preparing our athletes for life after high school while keeping active and developing not only as an athlete, but also as a member of the community.
Our members include youth ages 4-19 from Lake County, including Waukegan, Gurnee, Zion and other nearby communities with approximately 70% qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
After School Camps & Clinics
Free, introductory experiences for the community
Developmental in-house soccer program for boys & girls age 4-14
HOTC Elite Travel Team
Competitive soccer and post-secondary-readiness program for High School boys and girls
Our programs help motivate youth and prepare for high school graduation and beyond!
"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
"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 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
"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
“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