Technology-based soccer training program to open in Naperville sports center
Technology is the central component of a new indoor soccer training experience taking over a Naperville sports facility.
California-based TOCA Football Inc. is opening its largest location -- and its first in the Midwest -- within the existing 95,000-square-foot Players Indoor Sports Center building at 1740 Quincy Ave.
Founded by Eddie Lewis, a former U.S. professional soccer player, the company aims to expand upon the Naperville facility's offerings by integrating patented technology with high-level soccer expertise, said Hammond Moore, president of TOCA performance.
With soccer at the heart of its operations, he said, the TOCA Naperville concept will focus on four key elements: a kids program, small group and team training, youth and adult leagues, and a food and beverage component. Ancillary services previously offered by Players Indoor also will be available, such as flag football, lacrosse, parties and events.
The TOCA team purchased the Naperville sports center after building a relationship with previous owner Maxine Appenbrink, who said in a statement she is "thrilled to turn things over to TOCA for the next exciting chapter in cutting edge technology and the future of the sport."
The new ownership is now in a transition phase of rebranding and renovating the space, Hammond said.
When the work is complete, likely in late March or early April, the facility is expected to feature 18 state-of-the-art training studios equipped with touch trainers, smart targets and pathway player development tools. The "mistake-friendly" technology re-creates gamelike scenarios, tests decision-making and accuracy, and provides "a one-of-a-kind experience for athletes," Hammond said.
The center also contains two indoor soccer fields and three futsal courts -- a harder surface than turf -- to host year-round leagues and sporting events, company officials said in a news release. Later this year, TOCA Naperville plans to launch Kids in Sports, an early childhood, multisport program designed to promote confidence and teach life skills.
Additionally, the Naperville facility will continue serving basic concessions while developing a new and more elaborate food and beverage concept, slated to launch in late fall or early winter, Hammond said.
With several other facilities in California, Georgia, Washington and Canada, the TOCA company has been seeking to expand into the Midwest, particularly the Chicago area, which has a "great soccer market top to bottom," Hammond said. The Players Indoor location has a following after years of serving the soccer community in Naperville and surrounding areas, he said.
"Chicago has a strong soccer culture," Lewis said in a statement. "We plan on continuing that rich history with our highly coveted curriculum and small ball philosophy focusing on refining players' strengths and improving all aspects of their game."