Our Staff


Scott McLellan


Executive Director

With nearly 20 years experience at Boys & Girls Clubs, Scott is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to succeed in life. He is a firm believer that children who participate in sports programs receive skills that benefit them throughout their lives. Scott was awarded a scholarship to play basketball at Olivet Nazarene University, where he graduated with a degree in Social Work. Because of this, he is deeply tied to Heart of the City’s mission to create opportunities for youth to attend college through the game of soccer. In his free time, Scott enjoys playing golf and basketball and spending time with his family.


Ingrid Harrison


Director of Finance
Ingrid has worked in the non-profit sector for over a decade, specifically in organizations that focus on improving the lives of young people. Heart of the City was a natural step in her career path to continue in a field that makes a positive impact on youth. Ingrid has more than five years experience working as a Director of Finance, and earned her MBA in Finance from Nova Southeastern University. She also holds undergraduate degrees in Supervision and Management, Business Administration, and Education in Linguistics and French. In her free time, Ingrid enjoys baking.

Dean Smith


Director of Programs

For Dean, soccer is a way of life. He has been involved in soccer all of his life and even played professionally in England. After his professional career, Dean began coaching at Derby County F.C. Academy and has since worked as a college coach, Director of Coaching, and most recently a staff member of Illinois Youth Soccer Association. Dean was drawn to Heart of the City because he saw an opportunity to help youth access a sport that he knows can make a positive difference in their lives. A fun fact about Dean is that he loves karaoke, especially classic 90’s British songs.


Jennifer Ptak


Director of Operations

Jennifer joins us as a seasoned administrative professional with over 20 years experience with an emphasis in project management, implementation and new business development. Jennifer’s love for Waukegan and Lake County really took a leap when she became active with the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce as a volunteer in 2018. Her youngest daughter became involved with the Summer Soccer Academy offered at Heart of the City, and that is when Jennifer decided she wanted to be part of Heart of the City and its mission. In her free time, Jennifer loves cooking, being outdoors, watching her oldest daughter compete in competitive cheer and her youngest daughter play soccer and tumble.


Thomas Cahue


Director of Coaching

Thomas has coached soccer for over 16 years and has helped build highly successful soccer programs in Northwest Illinois. In addition to serving as the head soccer coach at Elgin Pumas S.C. and Chicago Mustangs, he helped launch the Elgin Pumas Recreational Program and the Lil’ Kickers soccer franchise for children 18 months to 12 years. He has coached all levels of soccer, including professional indoor and semi-professional outdoor (UPSL), and with IYSA in the Illinois ODP program. Thomas strongly believes in developing youth players and helping them discover their true potential; building a strong foundation and teaching strong values that will help youth achieve success in their future, on and off the field.


Letisia Gutierrez


Member Services Director
Lety brings over 12 years of business administrative experience in the corporate environment to her role at Heart of the City. As someone who grew up playing soccer in Waukegan, Lety has a deep passion for giving back to this community and serving the youth who live here through the game of soccer. She earned her Associates degree in Arts Business Administration from Columbia College. In her spare time, Lety enjoys watching movies, playing softball, and spending time with her kids.

Juan Pablo Orozco


Community Programs Manager

Juan Pablo possesses strong leadership capabilities and an extensive coaching experience of more than ten years that allows him to develop players and leaders on and off the field. In addition, Juan Pablo holds two bachelor's degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Parkside; Marketing and Business Management, as well as multiple IYSA and USSF certifications and licenses. Juan Pablo strongly believes in dedication, commitment, determination, and hard work as the pillars of success, he lives by the motto: "Fortune favours the bold" which is a testament to his beliefs.


Mayrani Rios


Program Administrator

Mayrani has worked in customer service roles for over six years. She studied early childhood education at the College of Lake County, and has two USSF national coaching licenses. Mayrani wanted to work for Heart of the City because of its focus on helping kids in need achieve better futures.  In her spare time, Mayrani enjoys watching soccer and spending time with her daughter and family.


Yanelly Villegas


Director of College and Career Readiness
Yanelly has worked in higher education for over seven years, offering support to students in and outside of the classroom, emphasizing student coaching and success. She recently served as an Assistant Director of Residence Life and is excited to apply her skillset in a new way. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Communication from Northern Illinois University. Her excitement for Heart of the City stems from a passion and care for helping youth achieve their goals and take steps to succeed in their journeys. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new biking and hiking trails with her family.
Rob - HOTC

Rob Kettle


College Soccer Recruitment Specialist
Rob is a former college coach and club director with over 25 years of coaching experience. His collegiate career includes head coaching positions at Benedictine University (IL), Miami University (OH), California University (PA) and Curry College (MA). He holds a Master's Degree in Physical Education and a US Soccer 'A' Coaching License. Since 2014, Rob has owned/operated a college soccer recruitment service – assisting soccer players (mainly from the Chicago-area) that are looking to get recruited to play in college and receive scholarships. He has helped over 300 players get recruited in the past 6 years. Away from work, Rob spends his time over dog parks with his 170lbs bullmastiff, Tetley.

Board of Directors

Lori Kleiman

HR Topics


David Motley

City of Waukegan


Elyse Litwack

4SBay Partners LLC

Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

Janice Zagorniak

Ombudsman Educational Services

Program Committee Chair

Ann Carroll-Butler

Attuned Care

Development Committee Chair

Vance Wyatt

CVS Health

Board Member

Maytee Diez

LEARN 9 Charter School

Board Member

Jessica Sarowitz

4SBay Partners LLC

Board Member

Dane Morgan

Gurnee Community Bank

Board Member

Victor Gonzalez

First Midwest Bank

Board Member

Jesus Ruiz

College of Lake County

Board Member

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. Without a strong board of directors and committee members supporting our efforts, we could not keep building stronger players, families, and communities in Lake County.

Interested in becoming a committee or board member? Email our Executive Director at scott@heartofthecitysports.org.