All About Edgewater Castle

All About Edgewater Castle
Football for everybody. Community engagement. Growth. These founding principles were embedded in co-founders Andrew Swanson and James Kitia’s mind when they first got together in the summer of 2017 to form Edgewater Castle Football Club (ECFC). 7 years later, ECFC continues their club's mission as a non-profit semi-professional soccer club through this coming season and many more to come.
When founding their club, Swanson and Kitia took local and international inspiration. Looking at other semi-professional and amateur soccer teams, Swanson and Kitia noticed that many other organizations are named after local points of interest. Swanson’s local liquor store in Edgewater is called Castle Food & Liquors, which added to the architectural inspiration of the many early 20th century Chicago two flats, large complexes and hotels, and from such the “Castle” in ECFC was born. To represent the scale and strength of Chicago as a whole, ECFC’s crest features a fortress on the shore of Lake Michigan adorned with a star from Chicago’s flag. On top of this, the fortress also resembles a “Rook” from chess, giving ECFC fans and players their nickname: The Rooks.
A key feature of ECFC is the three pillars that surround the club’s identity: football being for everybody, engaging the community that ECFC is a part of, and growing the club over time to grow the game of soccer within Chicago. As the years have gone on, these cornerstones have persisted, making ECFC the club that its players, staff, and supporters have come to love.
With the Pay-To-Play system preventing many from playing soccer in America due to high costs, ECFC has dedicated itself to make soccer accessible. By working with local organizations and through the generous donations of our supporters, and our staff of volunteers, ECFC is able to provide free opportunities for everyone to play soccer. All of our players do not have to pay a cent to play for ECFC. The Rooks also host various community events to promote and provide access to soccer for all, most recently through Futsal events in Senn High School during the offseason. ECFC has a strong belief that people and players shouldn’t be barred from playing soccer solely because of financial reasons, and ever since its founding ECFC has committed to provide frequent and fun opportunities for all.
ECFC also prides itself on its community engagement. Being a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the entirety of funding comes from the sponsorships, donations, ticket sales, and community ownership investments from community members in Edgewater and others who share ECFC’s vision. Supporters of the club come from everywhere and from all walks of life; recently, ECFC was mentioned on National Television on LIVE with Kelly and Mark by none other than community owner Carrie Coon (click here to see for yourself). ECFC has also recently partnered with local leaders and organizations, such as Alderwoman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, to continue to connect with our neighbors. By building relationships with its community and beyond, ECFC remains as a club founded by people, for people.
ECFC has also committed to continue growing as a way to not only improve the organization, but also to improve its access to soccer. Across its 7 years of existence, ECFC has grown from 1 squad to 4 with a Men’s First Team playing in the Midwest Premier League’s Heartland Division, a Women’s 1st Team playing in United Women’s Soccer, a U23 Men’s Team playing in Greater Chicago Soccer League and a women’s Reserve Team playing in Illinois Women’s Soccer League. More teams mean more opportunities for players and community members to get engaged with the club, and continuing to move upwards in its endeavors allows for ECFC to continue improving its mission.
All of these aspects of ECFC help to create its culture; one that recognizes the geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of our community. As one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, Edgewater welcomes everyone of all backgrounds into its community with open arms. The same goes for ECFC, who strives to provide individuals with the training, playing, and viewing opportunities that are oftentimes unavailable to many who desire to play the world’s game. 
If Edgewater Castle Football Club sounds like the club for you, be sure to join it in support going into this upcoming season. ECFC would love to have you as it continues to solidify itself as Chicago’s community soccer club.

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