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About Central Illinois United


Is playing on a full-time CIU team for my player?

Is your son/daughter serious about soccer? Do they want to be in truly competitive environment where every player on their team is strong so there’s nowhere to hide/take it easy in training? Are they among the most talented players in the region? Are they at least entertaining the idea of playing college?
If you answered yes to these questions, it’s probably a good fit.
CIU under the PFCU/SASA alliance (with other supporting clubs soon to be announced) is only going to expand what we can offer to these players.


What if my son/daughter fits that profile, but doesn’t want to leave their friends?

 

At the end of the day, it’s a choice. We believe and have shown that stronger players will develop even faster if being consistently challenged by other strong players in training and in games. We also understand that relationships are important and we will be extremely supportive of players who want to guest play with their home clubs as schedules allow. As we use a pool of players, not every player goes to every event, so there will definitely be open weekends to make this happen.


What if my son/daughter is not from the Springfield or Peoria area? Will that affect their chances to make the team or opportunities if he/she makes the team?

Absolutely not. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. CIU does not discriminate based what club you came from. Our goal from the start was to get the best players in region together, get them competing against the best in the state, the region, and the country.
Working as part of the PFCU/SASA alliance we’ll be able to build on the foundation of the 2000-2001 pool and give CIU teams the ability to play together without taking 8 weeks off mid-season (as younger CIU teams currently do). Again, guest playing with original clubs will be encouraged (based on schedules).


What about people that insist their club is doing the same thing as CIU?

Every club in the region does a terrific job of developing players, but the top 22 players in an age group aren’t generally from the same club. There are absolutely teams in region that have success. Some teams are strong at 7v7, 9v9, and even 11v11, but competing at a regional and national level at 11v11 demands depth that only a unified effort can provide.
When teams are not organic (i.e. players not all from their immediate area) you won’t see much if any recognition of where those kids came from or the clubs that initially developed them.
The difference is we embrace that. In fact, we celebrate it. Going forward, under the PFCU/SASA alliance, CIU players will have their original club’s logo (with that club’s permission) on their sleeve.


Our coach says he can just make calls to colleges and that’s as good as what CIU is doing for recruiting? Is that true?

We think it’s great that there are coaches in our region that have relationships with colleges and our directors from PFCU, SASA and CIU have that as well. Networking opens doors and can make a difference, but the truth is colleges still need you to show what you can do on the field – preferably against strong competition. In addition to going to the top flights of showcases, we also push our players to go to college ID camps and produce highlight videos. We also share streamed games with coaches so they can see our players against top teams. And both PFCU and SASA have programs designed to help families navigate the recruiting process.
80% of the initial player pool is playing/will play in college, 20% are/will be playing Division I. We don’t believe you’ll find that anywhere else in region.

 

 


How do the results of our top local teams compare to the first full-time CIU team?

With all due respect to local teams that have earned some solid results, we believe the track record at regional and national events the past five years is unmatched under 2000 head coach Val Walker (’15-‘19) and 2001 head coaches Edgar Sandoval (’16-’18), Stefan King (’18-’19) and Nick Bestor (’20):
• 2019 US Club Soccer National Cup semifinalists, Midwest Regional champions
• 2019 and 2020 Las Vegas Mayor's Cup International Showcase finalists (semifinalists in 2018)
• Defeated Galaxy SC, the reigning 2018 USYS National Champs, Olympiacos City Red, the reigning 2015 US Club National Champs.
• Defeated USYS State Champions (reigning or soon to be) from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas North, Utah and Wisconsin.
• Four straight Illinois State Cup semifinal appearances
• First or second in the top flights of more than two dozen big city college showcases/tournaments

 

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