Like a massive white bubble hovering over the earth, the domed roof of the Highland Park Field House covers 52,000 square feet of field turf that hosts soccer games, lacrosse drills, and golf strokes. The facility is a privately funded not-for-profit aimed at serving local high schools and other organizations who can use the space for recreational leagues and practice.
Open soccer pickup games occur five nights a week, and the field transforms into an indoor golf range on weekdays. Whether it’s used for instructional lessons or invisible boomerang throwing practice, the range gives a place for sports enthusiasts to practice year-round regardless of the weather outside.
The Slaughter’s roots are planted firmly in Chicago soil. Since its founding in 2006, the franchise has consistently opened roles for the city’s gridiron stars, both on the field and in the front office. This Windy City loyalty has been apparent before the team even played its first snap; Slaughter is a nod to the city’s working class and to the old Chicago stockyards.
In 2009, the Slaughter rewarded the Second City with a championship during an undefeated season as part of the Continental Indoor Football League. A year later, the team joined the Indoor Football League, where it remains today, playing all of its home games at Sears Centre Arena. There, frequent promotions help create a party-like atmosphere, and spacious concourses let fans spread out and play their own pickup games using wadded-up slices of deep-dish pizza as the ball.
When Director Tony Youhanna and George Solomos founded Little Legends Soccer Academy in 2009, they found themselves filling a niche. At the time, the North Shore offered no quality soccer coaching for youngsters interested in the game. Their first session was a success, drawing thirty eager players, but it didn't prepare them for the popularity that was to come. Since that day, the academy has ballooned: more than 300 children ages 24 months to 8 years old are currently enrolled in its various programs.
Each clinic helps kids build soccer fundamentals such as foot skills, passing, and receiving in an environment that encourages fun and teamwork. Very young players—24 to 36 months—start off in the Born to Kick program, which couples soccer skills with mind-nurturing topics such as shapes, colors, and vocabulary. As children get older and their skills progress, they move into clinics aimed at more advanced techniques, eventually putting them to work in games. The academy's Space program—standing for speed, agility, core, and endurance—does away with the soccer ball altogether, focusing instead on exercises to improve footwork, speed, and balance.
$10 will afford you around 83-91 balls so you don’t have to use all $50 in one visit, just hold on to your card and come back whenever you feel like transferring stress into the abyss of dimpled cosmonauts. Although not part of this deal, Golf Center Des Plaines also has a lighted, par-three golf course, GolfTEC training programs, a pro shop, restaurant, and banquet room.