Achieving Excellence On and Off the Field

Our Heart of the City Elite program combines college and career readiness programming with competitive soccer. Our goal is to be the support system that many are not receiving at home or in school, and to prepare them for success after high school, whether it is college, trade/vocational school, the military, or the workforce.

Our dedicated staff provide each participant with an individualized player development plan, detailing their academic and athletic goals, GPA, and college/career aspirations, and we create an actionable plan to get them where they want to go.

In conjunction with their year-round soccer training and games, we provide comprehensive educational support, including report card checks, in-house tutoring, coordinated college visits, job-skill training, college soccer recruitment, and more.

Want more information on our education programs? Contact our Director of College & Career Readiness, Yanelly Villegas

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Annual Referee Certification Clinic

We host this annual clinic in January through the Illinois Soccer Referee Committee, providing an opportunity for our high school student-athletes to earn their official certifications. 

This certifications gives our youth a stackable credential to include on their resumes and allows them to earn extra income, gain experience, learn job-readiness skills, and learn about soccer from a new perspective.

Our student-athletes work as referees in our year-round Soccer Academy programs as well as leagues throughout Illinois.


Leadership and Mentorship

High school student-athletes have the opportunity to coach and mentor the younger kids in our year-round recreational Soccer Academy.

We also help our student-athletes earn their official USSF coaching certifications if they are interested in pursuing coaching more seriously.


Monthly Volunteer Opportunities

Our student-athletes attend monthly service outings within the community at local churches and community organizations.

All of our HOTC Elite participants are required to complete at least 10 volunteer hours per season. 


Academic Support Services

  • Monthly report card checks
  • Academic support services
  • SAT prep courses
  • College application workshops
  • Financial aid workshops
  • Parents Educating Parents workshops
  • "College Knowledge" course through partnership with College of Lake County

Coordinated College Visits

2022 College Visits:

  • College of Lake County
  • North Central College
  • Gateway Technical College

2021 College Visits:

  • DePaul University

2020 College Visits:

  • Eureka College
  • Lincoln College
  • Lincoln Christian University
  • Calumet College of St. Joseph
  • Marian University

2019 College Visits:

  • Carthage College
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • Bryant & Stratton College, Wauwatosa
  • DePaul University
  • College of Lake County
  • UW-Parkside
  • Gateway Technical College
  • College Fair at Lake Forest Academy
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