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Indoor soccer team strives for success

HOFFMAN ESTATES – Dave Mokry’s workday started with an email sent to a Sears Centre official about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After a busy day packed with meetings regarding the Major Indoor Soccer League’s newest franchise, he hoped to rest by 10:30 p.m.

“When we actually do have time to sleep at the end of the day, I still end up thinking about it,” Mokry said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a lot of work, but at the end of the day, I think we’re really going to give our fans a great product.”

Every day, that product is becoming more of a reality.

The professional indoor soccer team co-owned by Mokry and Armando Gamboa now has a name – Chicago Soul FC – and a season opener slated for Nov. 11. The next step is to build a roster, with tryouts starting Sunday under the guidance of coach Narciso “Chicho” Cuevas.

The Soul will be the seventh team in the MISL, which also features clubs in Baltimore;Milwaukee; Wichita, Kan.; Rochester, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and suburban Kansas City, Mo. The franchise expects to unveil a team logo, a full schedule and ticket information soon.

Although other tenants have struggled to succeed at the Sears Centre, Mokry said an up-tempo game, affordable tickets and a family friendly atmosphere added up to a winning combination for the Soul. Instead of competing with the MLS’s Fire, he said, the Soul would complement the outdoor team by offering a winter option for fans.

“It’s such a faster game,” Mokry said. “We’re talking 60 shots a game versus eight shots a game or nine shots a game for an outdoor game.”

The Soul’s co-owners have reached out to charity groups in the community in hopes of raising money for important causes during games. In-game contests, giveaways and a dance team also are planned.

The additional entertainment will support what Mokry and Gamboa expect to be an exciting slate of games. A smaller indoor field (roughly 200 feet by 90 feet) could lead to more physical action as opponents battle for the ball, and goals worth two or three points depending on distance could allow for late-game comebacks.

In addition to establishing its professional roster, Gamboa said, the Soul wanted to fill roster spots for a reserve team and a pilot team for the upcoming season. For more information on the team or to register for tryouts, visit www.chicagosoulfc.com.

“There’s a lot of local talent in Chicago,” Gamboa said. “We want to create an opportunity for every possible talented player in Chicago to try out. I strongly believe that we’ll find something through that.”

Both men also hope the Soul finds a lasting place on the regional sports scene.

“There’s so much passion right now toward soccer, and indoor soccer is such an exciting game,” Mokry said. “If you put a good product on the field and you treat the fans properly and you let them be a part of it, I think you’ll see Chicagoland respond extremely well. …“I think that when we get people there, they’ll come back.”

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