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New Peoria Soccer Team Kicks Off In May

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Peoria City Soccer
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Peoria's new pre-professional soccer team, Peoria City, takes the field at Shea Stadium for the first time this spring.

Developer Kim Blickenstaff helped lure the United Soccer League team to the River City. He says the time is ripe for Peoria to join the soccer world, with soccer more popular in the U.S. than ever, particularly among younger crowds. 

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Credit Anna Chumbley / WCBU
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Developer Kim Blickenstaff at the Peoria City announcement at the Betty Jayne Center for the Performing Arts in Peoria Heights, 1/30/20.

"The reach of this Peoria team through this Midwest, up into Canada, through these northern cities, I think is going to put us on the map in one more unique way, and really help the community," he said. 

Other teams in the league are based in Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, and Manitoba, Canada. Barry MacLean and John Dorn own the team. 

Peoria City will make its home debut against the Green Bay Voyageurs on May 23.

Jim DeRose is Bradley University's head soccer coach and Peoria City's chief administrator. He said the new team will make a splash on the local economy.

"As people come to Peoria throughout the summer for other events, having opportunities after a tournament, or, you know, going to the museum or something on the riverfront, to have something to offer them also is important," DeRose said. 

Bradley assistant soccer coach Tim Regan, a retired professional soccer player, will coach the new team.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.