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Overview + Philosophy
KFJ accepts the responsibility of teaching life lessons to our athletes. We are committed to making soccer a pleasant, safe and rewarding experience for everyone involved regardless of age or ability.
Through quality coaching, sound leadership and guidance from Major League Soccer, KFJ will work to become one of the best soccer clubs in the United States of America.
Our travel/competitive (Select) program is divided and unified by two divisions, Premier and Classic. The Classic program affords our players temporary breaks in the middle of the season so that they can participate in alternative sports/activities. They also train one day less each week during the (Fall, Winter and Spring) Seasons than the Premier teams.
Our Premier players will play/train on a more frequent basis and are on a more aggressive path to playing soccer post High School (College Soccer, Olympic Development, Youth National teams and Professional soccer).
Our program starts at the Under 8 level and progresses through Under 19. For our club we want to push our players to “the next level”. The “next level” may be different for every player.
Players that have consistently proven to be the best in the club have the opportunity to play/train with the Chicago Fire Development Academy (boys) or be selected for the Chicago Fire Affiliate Select teams that compete with and against the best players in our 9 affiliate programs (girls).
Our Competitive Club also offers the following Additional Programs throughout the Select Year:
- College recruitment seminars
- Parent education related to soccer
- Holiday training and Summer Camps
- Competitive tournament and league play
- College Showcase events
- Player evaluations
- Winter training (Premier teams)
- Major league Soccer camps
- Access to Chicago Fire games
- Special guest clinics by Professional Soccer players
- United States Soccer Federation Nationally licensed coaches
KFJ is proud of its tradition of being a club that develops players to become better soccer players and outstanding citizens. Our coaching staff is consistently evaluated and is licensed by the United States Soccer Federation.
"Kentucky Fire Juniors Select Soccer Program is committed to providing an unparalled soccer experience for all who have interest in the game of soccer. KFJ promotes the spirit of sportsmanship, the excitement of competition and the individual development of each player."
“To Lead the Evolution of Youth Soccer In the United States”.
Who are the Chicago Fire?
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club is an American professional soccer club that participates in Major League Soccer. Based in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois, the team was founded October 8, 1997, on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 1998, their inaugural league season, the Fire won the MLS Cup as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (the "double"). They have also won the 2000, 2003, and 2006 Open Cups. A key feature of the Fire is its complete developmental system consisting of the Chicago Fire Premier (a Premier Development League team and a Super-20 League team), the Chicago Fire Development Academy, Chicago Fire Juniors youth teams and a community based Camps and Training department. The club also administers a charitable community organization, the Chicago Fire Foundation. The official club colors are red and white. Over its history, the Fire has also employed navy blue, sky blue, and black as alternate or accent colors.
What are the Fire Juniors?
The Fire Juniors are the youth club affiliate of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, with local branches in North Chicago, South Chicago & North West Indiana; regional branches in Mississippi and national branches in Louisiana and Florida. First established in 2004, the original Fire Juniors were formed by the combination of two existing youth clubs in Wheaton, to serve as the initial Chicago youth soccer flagship as a program of the Wheaton Park District. They then absorbed the Naperville Lightning, a successful, existing club in Naperville. The Fire Juniors Technical Director is Academy Director Larry Sunderland and Affiliate Manager is Brian Roberts.
The Fire Juniors is the first of its kind program in Major League Soccer (MLS) and creates a true player development "pyramid" from the beginning recreational player to the professional level. This "pyramid" creates a progressive developmental structure providing players the opportunity to move from introductory play, competitive play and elite youth play into professional academy formats (Fire Academy U16, U18) and professional development programs (Super 20, PDL) - finally, onto the Fire MLS team. The Fire has two current players who have come through this ‘Home Grown’ player pathway: Victor Pineda (Bolingbrook, IL) and Kellen Gulley (Jackson, MS).
Why choose the Fire Juniors?
The Fire Juniors is a first class, professionally run organization that produces teams and develops players for consistent high-level competition. The Fire Juniors maintains the infrastructure for player and team development that produces the highest quality player and team results. As part of the Chicago Fire Player Development Program, Fire Juniors players have access to unparalleled opportunities for soccer development -- opportunities that no other club can provide. Youth to professional, top quality leadership and coaching, always ahead of the curve and leading the way in the evolution of youth soccer.
The Fire Juniors believe in the Pyramid of Player Development. From the base of the pyramid, where one finds the greatest number of participants from the recreational and beginning player, to the top of the pyramid, where we find our first division professional player - our program has the capacity to meet every player's goals -- male or female. Our professional coaching staff is equipped to meet every player's developmental needs - from bottom to top. We follow a curriculum that is both age and ability-based and allows the flexibility to accommodate those who are excelling as well as those who need additional help. Because of our soccer club's unique distinction as the first program to follow a professional soccer club model - one club, from youth recreational teams to our elite teams and Academy teams - finally to the ultimate, Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.
The VISION of the Fire Juniors is
“To foster a culture of excellence both on and off the field of play. To create an environment that develops players from grassroots through to college, MLS and National Teams”.
The Development of the Chicago Fire Juniors Nationwide
In 2010, the Chicago Fire will saw a number of junior clubs join the CFJ family. CFJ South, CFJ North and CFJ NW Indiana sign up from the in Chicagoland area, whilst CFJ Florida join Louisiana and Mississippi in promoting the Fire further afield. In 2012, Kentucky and Michigan were added.