• Derek Helling

City Captain Ready to Lead Club Into USL

When growth happens within an organization, the people who have been part of building that organization from the beginning can often glean the most satisfaction. Chicago City SC captain Gabby Whittinghill is one such individual.

Whittinghill has been with City from the start in 2018 and served as a captain throughout that tenure. Thus, she is among the most excited for the future heading into the first USL season.

Whittinghill brings continuity, experience to City roster

Whittinghill, 30, certainly has more than just preparations for City’s first-ever USL season on her plate. She’s a physical education teacher and also has served as the head coach of the girls’ soccer team at Maine Township High School in Park Ridge since 2013.

Then there are Whittinghill’s on-pitch responsibilities for City. As one of the club’s forwards and the captain, she has a leadership role not only in the final third but all over the pitch. It’s a role she looks forward to maintaining in the move from the WPSL to the USL.

“It's always tough when new players are coming in and trying to get everyone on the same page, but I think we're taking the right steps in [the] offseason to get us to a good place when the season starts that sets us up to be successful,” Whittinghill said.

After the club posted a mark of 1-6-3 in 10 matches in its final WPSL season, Whittinghill is looking to write a different story about the club upon entry into the USL.

Whittinghill’s contributions will influence first USL season

Overall, Whittinghil is excited about the club’s move to the USL.

“It seems like an awesome jump for us as a club,” Whittinghill commented. “It's awesome that the USLW has opportunities in Chicago and so many other big cities.”

A crucial part of the preparation for matches against clubs from places like Charlotte, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. are upcoming tryouts for spots on the club’s roster. Whittinghill will be a part of those evaluations.

“It's great to see new players come in and compete as well as having a good group of core players from season one,” Whittinghill said. “It's a nice mix of experiences and opportunities for all.”

As one of the USLW league’s missions is “​​providing over 750 new opportunities for women to play, coach, and work in soccer,” City will be a part of that provision. For veterans like Whittinghill, it’s all about the community and the on-pitch product.

“On a personal level my goal for our first season is to start better than we finished out last season in WPSL,” Whittinghill explained. “I want us to be competitive and make a statement coming in this first year. It would be great to have a winning record and to continue to bond and grow as a team. I would like fans to know that we all take pride in playing for Chicago City. We enjoy representing Chicago and a great club, we love the opportunities that young athletes, females especially now have to work their way up the line. We play for all of you!”

While how Chicago City SC will fare in its first USLW season remains to be seen, what’s certain is that Whittinghill will be at the helm for every minute. Given her experience and passion for the game, that’s a situation every other club in the league should envy.

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