In November 2017, the leaders of MoMac FC and FC South Central came together to form the not-for-profit 501c3 Impact FC soccer program in an effort to continue the growth of soccer in the area. Now, the club is taking the next step in ensuring that growth.
With teams filled with players from age eight to age 19, plus a successful juniors program that catered to children as young as five, Impact FC has worked to teach the ideals of sportsmanship, fair play, respect and teamwork in its players, as well as promote healthy activities and lifestyles.
What the program hasn't had, is a home field. Currently, the club's nine teams practice in multiple locations, including Litchfield, Carlinville, Raymond and Farmersville. The club also plays league games in the fall and spring, all of which are played on the road.
In order to continue the growth that Impact has seen over the last year and a half, the club's board of directors have been working on finding a home field somewhere in Montgomery County or Macoupin County, where nearly all of Impact's players reside.
While several locations have been considered, currently the club is working with the city of Litchfield for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources open spaces land acquisition and development grant.
The application for the grant was approved at the July 18 Litchfield city council meeting and a public meeting will be held on Aug. 1, from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. at Corwin Hall to display a concept plan.
While the project is dependent on the grant and several other factors, the plan is to develop three full sized soccer fields (ages 14-18), two 9-on-9 soccer fields (ages 11-13), three 7-on-7 soccer fields (ages 8-10) and a 4-on-4/juniors area for the younger players (ages 5-8).
The soccer park, which would utilize a portion of land in the Rt. 66 Crossing area, behind the Litchfield Plaza, would also have room for parking, a concession stand and bathrooms.
While the project has clear benefits to Impact FC, economically, Litchfield and Montgomery County stand to benefit too. Close to 100 families will be using the fields twice a week for practice during the months of August through October and again from March through May for the spring and fall soccer seasons.
Impact would also be able to host games in the Central Illinois Youth Soccer League, which would bring teams in from Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington and Champaign.
The goal of the soccer complex is also to provide a spot for Impact to host tournaments, which could bring teams in from throughout the state and the Midwest.
"We contacted the Vigo County (IN) Youth Soccer Association in Terre Haute, IN, to get the economic impact statistics on their tournament, since we feel it's similar in size to a tournament we would host," said Impact Director of Coaching Travis Matthews. "Their stats show that nearly 1,100 players participate in their tournament. Adding in two additional family members per player, that is 3,300 additional people in the community for a three-day tournament. They estimated the economic impact at $1.32 million."
Even if the proposed soccer park hosts a smaller tournament, the economic impact would still be sizeable to Litchfield's hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.
"Everyone involved in Impact is a part of the communities in Montgomery and Macoupin counties and we want to see these communities thrive," Matthews said. "We feel like this is one of the best ways to help make that happen."
While there is a possibility that the grant does not come through, that doesn't mean that the club is going away any time soon.
"We have a dedicated group of volunteers, coaches and parents who want Impact to be around for a long, long time," Matthews said. "It's only a matter of time until we have a complex of our own."
For more information on Impact FC, go to www.ImpactFCIL.com