Where We Came From
Windy City Wanderers FC (Football Club), as it was then known, started off with humble beginnings in August of 2006.
Matt Rosine’s simple wish was to create a club where people could get together at least once a week and always be guaranteed that enough people would show up and get a good game of soccer going.
Many groups had existed before where some weeks ten people would show, other weeks only three, some weeks none. WCW wanted to be the first place that Chicago could rely on to always be playing soccer, week in week out. The other aim was to create a place where everyone was welcome , regardless of skill level, and could play without pressure or judgement.
August 13th was WCW’s inception, and nobody knew how many people would show up to “Our First Kickabout in the Park”. As a few people started to trickle into the designated meeting place, our first home at Grant Park, Matt was happy that there would at least be enough people for a small game. Mission accomplished! Eventually though, 25 people stood there waiting to play. At that time, it was an overwhelming number! Thinking fast, several smaller games of individual skill level were set up (beginner, intermediate and advanced), and the very first WCW games began. This method of dividing people up still exists to this day.
As the summer of 2006 continued, word spread around the city that a large group of people where playing regular soccer in Grant Park. People told their friends, who told their friends. Not only were these people playing fun soccer, but they were actually friendly! Plus, females could show up and play with other females, and not be intimidated by all-male groups.
As attendance grew, so did the need to establish more of a structure. Timed games were introduced, as were mass half times and water breaks. This also enabled everyone to get to know each other more and make new friends.
By the first spring game of 2007, over 100 people were regularly showing up to play organized Pickup soccer on a Sunday. Midweek games were added and a small WCW branch was established out in the near west suburbs. Just eight months after the club’s creation, hundreds of people were playing with WCW in games 6 days a week, costing just $1 per game – and the club was able to purchase it’s first goals (up to now, trash cans had been used!), pinnies, cones and balls.
With so many people playing every week, Matt decided that the club could attempt to use the numbers as a force for good. In August of 2007, WCW hosted it’s first charity tournament in aid of the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Many teams played over the course of 12 hours competing for the Trophy. The Chicago Fire were in attendance with two of their players, and also Sparky the mascot! At the end of the day, WCW had raised nearly $10,000 for BBBS of Chicago, and it was a huge success.
This ‘Big Tournament’ was the eureka moment in the early history of WCW. It was realized that maybe, just maybe, WCW was sitting on something huge – the possibility of being at the forefront of soccer in Chicago and providing amazing soccer playing opportunities as a full time venture.
In October of 2007, Matt Rosine incorporated the club, now Windy City Wanderers FA, LLC, and quit his marketing career in downtown Chicago to work on WCW full time.
In 2008 WCW added indoor and outdoor Men’s and Coed leagues to its programs. The main limitation was available field space in Chicago and the difficulty in achieving credibility and recognition with the Chicago Park District. Because of this, WCW leagues were small, but highly organized with an emphasis on quality of referees and customer service.
In 2009 WCW purchased the Armitage FA, the only other soccer-dedicated organization in Chicago. This gave WCW much needed quality field space and also an influx of new teams that had been loyal to the AFA. These teams were looking for a return of the great quality that they’d experienced in years gone by.
It was at this point that WCW was able to begin employing full time staff in order to keep up with the rapid growth of the club. WCW was running several leagues, pickup games, tournaments and more every week.
In 2010 WCW became the ‘Official Rec Soccer Club of the Chicago Fire’ and in 2011 the organization made a fundamental shift to how it saw itself by become an official Football Association (WCW FA). This new name was a recognition of the massive amount of progress WCW had made since 2006 in running many great soccer programs.
Everything you see on this website is proof of everything that has happened between 2006 and now, and we can’t wait for you to become a part of our history.