Youth soccer academy planned for former Countryside hotel site

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 3:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 9:34 p.m. CDT

COUNTRYSIDE – A soccer academy focused on child development has been proposed by the developer of the former Countryside Inn hotel site at 5631 N. La Grange Road. 

The developer presented plans for an 18,000 to 20,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility coupled with six retail spaces to the city’s Economic Development Committee Nov. 21. The academy would be run by Lil’ Kickers, which has 14 locations in the Chicago area.

According to its website, the Lil’ Kickers’ program “helps develop a child’s social, emotional and cognitive skills, while providing physical exercise and developing players who are good sports and good teammates — on and off the soccer field.”

City Administrator Gail Paul said the committee was very interested by the proposal and asked for the developer to come back with a budget and timeline for the project.

The soccer academy would be located on the back of the property, with the six retail spaces at the front. Paul said the developer would target businesses geared toward children and sports. 

“Right now, the school does have students in the area at another location,” Paul said. “But their times of availability of gym time continue to go down, so they’re looking for a permanent home. They would be bringing those 400 students with them, plus hopefully more.”

Lil’ Kickers currently offers programs at the McCook Athletic and Exposition Center. 

After Countryside Inn closed, the city demolished the hotel and lined up a new Mazda car dealership, but the project folded when the economy plunged. 

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