Our Story

Chicago Rec Sports

Chicago Rec Sports is a collaboration of respected community leaders that have served the South and West side neighborhoods of Chicago since 2003. Today, we are the evolution of twenty years of passion and commitment to offering high quality, affordable, fun, and safe youth sports experiences.

2003

Neighborhood Leaders

  • Dr. Scott Hanlon moves to Bronzville
  • Tina Feldstein moves to South Loop
2006

Community Organizations

  • Dr. Scott Hanlon founded the Near South Soccer League (NSSL) as an AYSO, volunteer parent-coached community program with 50 players at the railyard near Ping Tom Park.
  • Tina Feldstein Co-Founded the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) a nonprofit, community organization to serve residents and neighbors in and around the South Loop community.
  • Scott and Tina develop opportunities for neighborhood improvements by advocating for quality open space and parks, education, economic development and increased community engagement.
2007

Community Partnerships

  • Women’s Park Advisory Council (WPAC) is founded by Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) to assist Alderman Robert Fioretti and Chicago Park District with design and program development for the repurposed building at 18th and Indiana into a park district fieldhouse
  • Ping Tom Park Advisory Council (PTPAC) and Dunbar Park Council (DPC) partner with Near South Soccer League (NSSL) to improve infrastructure and activities for the parks
  • Near South Soccer League (NSSL) and Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) host an annual calendar of soccer programs, community events, clean and green events and Graffiti removal events at the parks
2008

Park District Leadership

  • Dr. Scott Hanlon appointed by Mayor Richard M Daley to Chicago Park District (CPD) Board of Commissioners
  • Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA), Alderman Robert Fioretti, Chicago Park District (CPD) and community partners host the naming ceremony of Battle of Fort Dearborn Park
  • Near South Soccer League (NSSL) moves from Ping Tom Park to Dunbar Park to accommodate the growth to 400 recreational soccer players
2009

Program Expansion

  • Near South Youth Association (NSYA) was founded as a nonprofit umbrella organization
  • Near South Youth Association (NSYA) expands programming beyond (NSSL) to offer recreational flag football, basketball, track, baseball, floor hockey among others
  • Near South Youth Association (NSYA) hosts the Near South Youth Olympics introducing local youth to Olympic events at Dunbar Park
2011

Park Improvements

Park Improvements
  • Near South Youth Association (NSYA) and Dunbar Park Council (DPC) work with Chicago Park District (CPD) to develop and dedicate a new playground at the south end of Dunbar park
2012

Organizational Growth

Organizational Growth
  • Near South Youth Association (NSYA) changed its name to Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA)
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) and Dunbar Park Council (DPC) begin a 9 year funding campaign to build a turf field and track at Dunbar Park
2013

Park and Open Space Growth

Park and Open Space Growth
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) founded the Chicago KICS International Youth Soccer Cup. The Tournament runs for seven straight years hosting teams from 18 nations along with city, suburban and midwest teams. The tournament was anchored out of Dunbar Park and teams came from the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, Cayman Islands, Iceland, Italy, France, Israel, Palestine, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Pakistan and China
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) and Ping Tom Advisory Council (PTAC), among others work with Chicago Park District (CPD) to develop and dedicate a new Ping Tom Park Field House
2014

Historical Marker

Historical Marker
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA), Dunbar Park Council (DPC), Chicago Park District (CPD) and Alderman Will Burns dedicate Bronze statue of Poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar at Dunbar Park
2016

Community Park Addition

Community Park Addition
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) and Dunbar Park Council (DPC) work with Chicago Park District (CPD) and Alderman Sophia KIng to develop and dedicate a new playground at the north end of Dunbar park
2017

Scholarships Programs

  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) serves over 500 kids through its ‘Soccer for Success’ program in partnership with US Soccer Foundation
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) takes the first youth soccer team from Chicago to play in Cuba
2018

Teen Initiatives

Teen Initiatives
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) launches teen work initiative to engage high school aged youth in mentoring program
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) and Dunbar Park Council (DPC) secure approval for new Dunbar Park turf field and track with $3.6 million in funds coming from Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Former State Rep. Ken Dunkin, US Soccer Foundation, Pritzker-Traubert Family Foundation, Field Turf USA, Chicago Park District and Alderman Sophia King
2019

Major Park Advancements

  • New Dunbar Park turf field and track are completed by Chicago Park District (CPD)
2020

State-of-the-Art Indoor/ Outdoor Facility

  • Nonprofit Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) separates from for profit soccer club Chicago KICS FC
  • Chicago KICS Community Academy (CKCA) changes its name to Chicago Soccer Foundation (CSF)
  • Dr. Soctt Hanlon and Tina Feldstein form Chicago Rec Sports LLC (CRS)
  • Brand new state-of-the-art Comed Rec Center opens
2021

Shifting Gears

  • Chicago Soccer Foundation (CSF) is dissolved due to challenges related to the pandemic
2022

Never Stop Playing

Never Stop Playing
  • Chicago Rec Sports (CRS) is a collaboration of twenty years of experience and leadership in youth sports and community organizing.  CRS is committed to delivering a variety of high-quality, high-value and high-impact youth recreational sports programming at Dunbar Park, Women’s Park and ComEd Rec Center

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Never Stop Playing

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