Summer’s almost here and Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps are ready to help children return to active play. For kids who want to improve their soccer skills — or just want to get outside, be active, and make new friends, Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps offer high-quality experiences across Chicagoland. For 13 weeks this summer, kids ages 2 to 16 can have fun, develop new skills and experience a magical night on the lakefront at Soldier Field with their friends and family, all part of the Fire’s reimagined camp experience!
“Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps are the only soccer camps in the Chicagoland area operated by a professional MLS club,” says Sara Reilly, Senior Coordinator of Soccer In The Community with Chicago Fire FC.
“We have a range of camps that cater to girls and boys of all abilities aged 2 to 16 years, from traditional day camps to competitive residential camps. The goal of our camps is to promote soccer and childhood development, in a safe, fun and inclusive environment. All coaches are fully licensed, certified, background checked and extensively trained to provide the most authentic soccer camp experience anywhere in Chicago,” Reilly says.
Most importantly, Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps are providing kids the opportunity to have fun summer experiences in a safe environment following the pandemic disruption.
“We cater to different abilities and ages as we know that camp is supposed to be fun, so we really emphasize the social aspect — especially getting kids back outside and putting a smile on their faces!” Reilly says. “Campers play with other kids around their own age and ability to enhance their own experience and create new friendships along the way.”
The list of camp locations and options is impressive — with more than 50 different camps in 21 locations — meaning there is a camp that is conveniently located close to you, no matter where you live. New locations this year include Brentano Math and Science Academy and LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago and suburban locations in New Lenox, Oak Forest, and Lemont.
Wondering what your child can expect from Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps? Read on for an inside look.
Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps for ages 6-16
What makes Chicago Fire FC Camps different from typical soccer or sports camps is its focus on social-emotional development and building better players both on and off the soccer field.
“We focus a lot on social-emotional learning themes, such as communication, respect and teamwork,” Reilly says. “In our camps, kids learn these important life lessons without realizing they are learning them. We include on- and off-the-field activities that incorporate these themes, so children leave camp as better soccer players and young people.”
Chicago Fire FC Summer Camps come with some pro-level benefits, too. In addition to exclusive Fire posters and t-shirts, each camper will also receive a free ticket to Chicago Fire FC’s unique ‘Summer Camp Graduation Day’ experience at Soldier Field.
Graduation Day includes on-field scrimmages at Soldier Field, as well as player autograph sessions and exclusive activities for campers and their families. Family and friends have the opportunity to purchase additional discounted tickets to attend the match.
Camp graduation days return after a hiatus due to COVID and kids can experience the “big match atmosphere” at Soldier Field.
“Our Graduation Day event is an important part of our camp experience,” says Reilly, “It helps connect our camps to our first team, their hometown MLS club. We want to provide an incredible camp experience, both on the field in their community and at Soldier Field, so they grow up as fans of Chicago Fire FC, idolizing our players.”
Camps include half-day and full-day options and kids can attend camp for one week or for all 13 weeks — or anything in between.
Little Sparks and (new!) Little Sparks Plus
For kids just starting out, Chicago Fire FC offers Little Sparks Camp, which is perfect for ages 2-5 (in some locations, ages 3-5).
“These camps offer children their first steps in soccer, and they are unique because parents play too,” Reilly says. “We love the parent-child bonding experience at that age because they can fall in love with the game together. Little Sparks benefits parents because they can learn activities to take back home to their back yard or living room.”
Each week incorporates imaginative play using different themes. “The theme might be zoo and all the participants are animals. They have to come up with animals that have different characteristics, such as being fast like a cheetah, or slow like a turtle and dribble the ball as that animal. Or it might be an ocean theme and the little minnows will have to keep the ball away from the shark parents,” Reilly explains. “We also have a recess portion, which is free play for 10 minutes and it gives kids and parents a chance to use our equipment, such as goals and cones, to connect even more with their kid and just have some fun.”
There are hour-long and weekend programs, just right for small attention spans and tight schedules.
This summer, the Fire is rolling out a new program called Little Sparks Plus, which is designed specifically for 5-year-old players transitioning toward more independence.
“We recognized the need for learning skills and independence during this transition phase and we have a robust program that now focuses on child-to-child interactions,” Reilly says. “Parents can watch but they don’t have to participate, and kids will develop their technical ability as they transition towards being on a team.
“Just like the older age group, camps for Little Sparks Plus focus on fun, building social skills, and offering an age-appropriate approach so that kids can really enjoy playing the game of soccer. We know that the social aspect of sports is so important for kids and want to help them build a love for the game,” Reilly says.
“At our camps, children have the chance to make new friends, have fun, improve their mental and physical health and create memories that last a lifetime. We are so happy to play a small part in that journey.”
Learn more about Chicago Fire FC Soccer In The Community at chicagofirefc.com/camps.