• Derek Helling

Chicago City Brings USL Academy Certification to the Second City

The expansion of Chicago City SC’s operations for 2022 goes beyond joining the USL W League. It also means new opportunities for developing talent in the greater Chicago area through the USL Academy.

Chicago City’s academy is the first academy club in Chicago to achieve USLA status. Furthermore, Chicago City staff will be integral to the growth of the USL Academy program on a broader basis as well.

Chicago City recognized for excellence in player development

Guiding the advancement of young players is nothing new for Chicago City. Since 2013, City has been working in conjunction with the USL through the Super Y League.

Currently, City fields five clubs in the Chicago metro. In the spring of 2022, that will expand to include a new USLA club. Founder and CEO Nick Mulvaney spoke about the development.

“It took a lot of hard work and commitment behind the scenes from our leadership team,” Mulvaney commented. “But, as the saying goes, the hard work has only begun as we prepare to launch a new era in the Chicagoland soccer market.

To lead the new initiative, Chicago City has tapped Slavo Rafailovic. Rafailovic has worked with City and Mulvaney for the past seven years. The Serbian national has been coaching adult and youth soccer since going through academy club systems himself.

“We are very fortunate that the academy status has been awarded to Chicago City SC,” Rafailovic said. “This achievement has given our players the opportunity to get noticed on both the collegiate and professional levels. We can’t wait to start the program in January and compete with the best academies around the Midwest, hoping for a national championship in December.”

Rafailovic is also one of very few US Soccer Federation A License coaches to be accepted on the USL Academy Director’s Course which he plans to complete in June. Mulvaney has recently received a similar distinction as well.

Mulvaney set to take on larger role with USL

Recently, Mulvaney also disclosed he has been invited by VSI Executive Education to take part in the first MSc Sports Directorship course in the US. The program, taking place in conjunction with the Global Institute of Sport, will also be the first to be taught at the Inter Miami CF Stadium Campus.

The course will help prepare Mulvaney for his new role of Sporting Director for the Academy, League 2, and W League. Both Mulvaney and Rafailovic look at the Academy as a vital part of City’s operations.

“The formation of the USLA is a serious statement from the league on its continual growth for soccer in the country,” Mulvaney stated. “USL has, in my opinion, continued to push boundaries within the industry that has created real and tangible opportunities for players, coaches, executives, and communities to challenge themselves at the next level and beyond.”

Through City’s academy program, it not only has the chance to develop its own next generation of talent but see its reputation for producing experienced and skilled players grow as those players find spots on rosters throughout the world.

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