St.Charles East Alumni Game 2014

The Alumni game will be scheduled soon for next fall. Come early and support the team and then have some fun playing in the Alumni game and seeing old teammates. Please check back soon for more details.

Thank you.

Gary Cole
Class of 1981

The beginning of soccer in St. Charles, IL

St. Charles High School Soccer: From Club to Varsity 1978-1979

Soccer came to Saint Charles High School in the late 1970s. One of the earliest organizers, Robert Heilman arrived in the Fox Valley from Quincy, Illinois. His son, Jim Heilman wanted to continue playing and struck up a friendship with Tim Dailey, the high school English teacher and an equal soccer enthusiast. Dailey agreed with the Heilmans’ that the time was suitable for organized soccer at the high school. Up to that point, St. Charles players competed in the Tri-Cities Soccer League. They both wanted to move beyond this and establish soccer as a varsity interscholastic sport.
Heilman and Dailey solicited community support for a program. In 1978, Heilman hosted an initial organizational meeting at his house. Along with Dailey, they were joined by Harold Schwartz, Mike Mele, Jim Cooke, and several sets of parents including the Arrowsmiths, Coles, Watsons, Drawers, DeVilbiss, Shulskis, Rileys, Gibbons, Hulls, and Engles. Dailey recalled that in later years, other committed supporters such as the Millers, Kegleys, O’Briens, Luytens, Buttells, Denkers, and Marinaccios would likewise contribute time and energy to the program’s success.
Just as the Fox Valley experienced rapid growth in the decade, this soccer community drew on their international and domestic love of the game along with an appreciation for athletics, to organize the first club for the 1978 summer season. Heilman procured royal blue uniforms from Sport Craft, a New Jersey company that donated the initial kits. Other parents successfully acquired corporate and individual donations that established a financial footing while also organizing and maintaining a committed Booster Club. Dailey stressed the significance of these early finances since the school only had limited funds it would allocate to the program. He further recalled how the early program almost simultaneously incorporated the Tri-Cities Soccer League into a feeder program that provided a steady stream of future soccer players and enthusiast from the community.

Heilman remembered the early games as family affairs. Parents and coaches would often carpool to Aurora, Wheaton, and Naperville where some of the first games took place. Playing as a “club” allowed the team to gel into a cohesive unit, learn each other’s strengths and talents, while implementing Dailey’s game plans. These needed ingredients would serve the team well in the near future.

By August, 1978 there was enough community interest to sponsor two teams and formally petition the St. Charles School Board for varsity status. However, this did not come easy as some anti-soccer school board personal and coaches did not want a diluted talent pool for other sports such as football, basketball, or baseball. Fortunately, the soccer community found an ally in Superintendent, Don D’Amico, who threw his enthusiastic influence behind the varsity effort. Or as Dailey recalled, “without him, we would not have had a program.”

Events moved swiftly the following year as the team continued to grow together, recruit and nurture players from the Tri-Cities Soccer League while developing the community support from its initial season. In the Fall of 1979, the team received full varsity status. Both Heilman and Dailey recalled the success of this early team, which compiled a respectable 8-11-2 record. The following year the team competed in the state high school playoffs. The Saints would not have a losing record for the next eight years. Dailey emphasized how the exponential success of St. Charles soccer reflected the values of the players and supporters who stressed “hard-working, team-oriented, skilled players who never settled for less than excellence.”

These characteristics and goals engendered a lofty legacy while establishing a standard of quality for Fox Valley soccer. Many St. Charles alumni continue to kick in the adult leagues with the St. Charles Celtics organization. Other former players now lend their expertise to younger generations as coaches, referees, and community supporters. The game likewise enjoys a vibrant life in the local area indoor facilities, showing the extent of the game’s growth. In 1989, Tim Dailey reflected that St. Charles soccer is a “tradition of excellence [and] a commitment of purpose that transcends mere competition.” His words continue to reflect the strength and heritage that is St. Charles High School soccer.

The author thanks Robert Heilman, Tim Dailey, and Gary Cole for generously sharing their time and memories.

Gabe Logan
St. Charles, Illinois

St. Charles Alumni Holiday Classic

The St. Charles Alumni Holiday Classic (SAHC) committee would like to thank everyone in and outside of St. Charles that came together to make the Eleventh Annual event possible.

Special Thanks To:

Sportsplex & Soccer Success
The Bellaver Family
Phil Krahenbuhl
The Riley Family
Gary Cole Design
Blue Goose Market
Karrsten Goettel

Dominic A. Sergi
B&L Landscape and Garden Center
Wm. Wright & Associates, Inc.
The Hairy Ant
The House Pub
The Geiken Insurance Agencies
St. Charles Soccer Booster Clubs