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Ela Earns 5-Star Competitive Club Recognition
Becomes 1st To Earn New Award

Just two weeks after revealing their new Illinois Youth Soccer 5-Star Competitive Club Recognition, Illinois Youth Soccer is pleased to announce the first recipient of the prestigious award, ELA SOCCER CLUB.

Not only is Ela the first club to receive this recognition, they also are the first organization to have earned both the Illinois Youth Soccer 5-Star Competitive Club Recognition AND the US Youth Soccer Region II 5-Star Recreational Program Recognition for their recreational program.

“We are continually working hard to improve all aspects of our program and this recognition emphasizes these efforts and demonstrates our commitment to every aspect of development, safety and education,” Jackie Marais, Ela Executive Director said. “We are very proud and honored to be the first club to receive this recognition and our exceptional staff and coaches will continue to work hard to instill the love of the game in all players and maintain the high standards we set for our club.”

“I’m not surprised.  Ela Soccer Club knows how to do things right, “ said Illinois Youth Soccer’s Executive Director Mary Jane  Bender.  “Their board, administrators and coaches work very hard to provide the best possible experience for the children in their program.  They hire quality staff, they support coaching education and player development, they invest in good programming, they involve their parents, they maintain high standards and they provide a safe playing environment.” 

Located in Lake Zurich, Ela Soccer Club has competitive programs for boys and girls from ages 8 to 19 . Ela provides the opportunity for players to learn and play highly skilled soccer  in a supportive and challenging environment.  For teams U13 and above, their Ela Elite program offers more focused and rigorous trainings with a more comprehensive travel schedule. The U15-U18 Elite teams participate in major national tournaments and state-wide competitions.  Five Ela Elite teams were selected to participate in this spring’s Illinois Youth Soccer’s State Premiership Division.  Three Ela teams competed last fall including their U16 Illinois Girls Premiership Champion. Ela Soccer Club boys teams participate in the Young Sportsmen’s Soccer League (YSSL) and their girls teams play in the Illinois Women’s Soccer League (IWSL).

To earn the 5-Star Competitive Club recognition, Ela met all of the requirements showcasing their dedication both on and off the field. The 5-Star Competitive Club Recognition requirements are:


Illinois Youth Soccer Membership & Support

All of the Club’s competitive teams/players and recreational program teams/players, with the exception of the Club’s US Soccer Academy primary teams that are excluded from participating in any other program, must be registered with an Illinois Youth Soccer member league.

The Club must actively support Illinois Youth Soccer programs and encourage their players to participate in the Illinois Olympic Development Program.

The Club must place Illinois Youth Soccer logo and link on its website.

Coaching Education

All the Club’s competitive coaches must have the following US Soccer Federation licenses:

  • All U9-U12 coaches must have at least an ‘E’ License
  • All U13 and up coaches must have at least a ‘D’ License
  • All Directors of Coaching must have at least a ‘C’ License AND a National Youth License

Referee Development

All referees including assistant referees that the Club assigns must have a US Soccer license.

Risk Management

The Club must meet all of the following Illinois Youth Soccer risk management criteria:

  • All goals used by the Club, whether they are in use or not, must be anchored and stored according to the goal manufacturer’s safety standards.  All fields, nets and equipment must be safe.
  • All coaches, assistant coaches, administrative staff, board members, referees and all affected persons 18 or older must submit a background check.
  • All coaches must submit a certificate to the Club showing that they have successfully completed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Heads Up Concussion test.
  • All coaches must use the Illinois Youth Soccer Concussion Notification Form.

Parent Education and Sideline Behavior

The Club must certify and document that it has a parent behavior program in place.

For more details on the Illinois Youth Soccer 5-Star Club Recognition click here.













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