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Growing Up with Soccer at the Naperville Park District

First grade boys soccer team maintains ties through high school

Twelve years ago several dads put together a first grade soccer team for their boys in the Park District’s Naperville Youth Soccer (NYS) program. The boys loved playing soccer, and the dads and their families enjoyed watching them.  Most of the team stayed together through eighth grade. This fall, seven out of the original 15 players are back together as a team in the Park District high school co-ed soccer program, playing at Players Indoor Sports Center on Friday evenings.  Most of the players from the original team continue to play soccer, either for their high school team or for traveling teams, and enjoy a friendship that spans their entire school career.

The high school co-ed team playing at Players Indoor Sports Center Friday evening, 11/20/15

And the coaches?

Charlie Kesler, father of two sons and coach of the original NYS boys team and the high school co-ed team, coached his older son’s team from first grade through sixth grade. He also coached his younger son’s team from kindergarten through sixth grade.  Never having played soccer as a child, Charlie learned the game first as a coach. Now he plays soccer himself in the Park District adult soccer league and also on an adult travel team with his friends and fellow coaches.

  Kindergarten boys NYS team

  Adult travel team; Charlie Kesler is the goal keeper in yellow.

Naperville Premier Soccer League

When Charlie began coaching his younger son’s kindergarten soccer team, he and his assistant coaches noticed immediately that the team had unusual potential. The Park District had recently begun the Naperville Premier Soccer League, giving families the option of a competitive program without the time commitment or cost of a travel soccer club. The team joined the Premier League as a first grade team and won the championship that year.

“The parents and coaches were excited about the team and wanted to give them a competitive edge,” said Charlie. “The parents made a giant team flag, we won a bunch of championships, and almost seemed to have the team together year round.  The Premier League was perfect for our team.”

Third grade Naperville Premier Soccer League team

Sixth grade Naperville Premier Soccer League team


Join the Fun:  Register for Naperville Youth Soccer or Premier Soccer 

Check the current edition of the Program Guide for details.

In addition to registering their children for the soccer programs, parents can get involved as volunteers, serving as coaches, assistant coaches or team liaisons. Check the NYS or Premier pages for more information about how to volunteer.

Soccer Options for Adults

The quarterly Program Guide also has registration information for adult soccer leagues, including recreational or competitive.  Whether you grew up playing soccer or want to learn as an adult, the Park District offers a chance for adults to play the sport themselves. Take advantage of the Park District’s adult soccer leagues and meet new friends, get a great aerobic workout, and enjoy the outdoors. 



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Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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