Director of Coaching
Evolution Soccer Club
By Stephen Miwa
Traditionally, in our newsletter, we like to focus on just one athlete. This month, we wanted to focus on a coach and club that is making such an impact on so many local athletes, and how the power and energy of one can affect hundreds!
Kieran Howarth has been living and breathing soccer since he could barely walk. Originally from Blackpool, England, Kieran started playing club soccer at the age of eight for Blackpool FC. At the age of twenty, a young pro at the time, Kieran and some of his friends were in Greece playing in a pick-up game when he broke his leg. After a year of rehabilitation, he was back to full strength, but he was not the same as a player. “It was more psychological with me,” said Kieran regarding the end of his professional playing days. This, however, was not going to end Kieran’s connection to the game.
“I had always planned to be a coach and a manager,” Kieran continues “That’s always what I’ve wanted to do.” The summer of 2009, Kieran made his first trip to America to coach summer camps in Georgia. Returning back to England after the summer, he couldn’t stop thinking about coming back to the States for a permanent position. Moving to Chicago in the spring of 2010, Kieran coached and help to build multiple developmental programs through different soccer clubs in the Chicagoland area for the next few years.
Thinking to himself, “I want to own my own club and do something all by myself,” Kieran started planning to form Evolution Soccer Club(ESC). The club was launched in April of 2014 and the first tryouts were held a month later. From there, it has been off to the races. In its first year, Evolution had sixteen teams. Now in their second year as a growing club, there are twenty-seven. When asked about the growth from Evolution’s first year to its second, Kieran explains,
“The difference from year one to year two was that the youngest team we had was U11, with nothing below that. So in the winter and spring of that first year, we added a youth academy, and that developed into a both U8 boys and U8 girls teams. Now, that bloodline can go through our system.”
With impact injuries to the legs, ankles, and knees being the most common injury that he sees throughout the club, Kieran explains how he and his coaches try to prevent these injuries. For the younger kids, making them aware and increasing their soccer IQ from a young age are a few ways that ESC educates. “This will make them aware and know when a challenge is going to come in, getting a sense of any danger coming,” Kieran states. As the players grow older, teaching dynamic stretching and warming up correctly is a big part of the program. “Achieve gave an Injury Prevention Workshop for us last year, and we are glad to have you guys doing it again this year for us.” Kieran continues, “We are really trying to inform the kids, their parents, and our coaches to keep our players safe.” With statistically proven results from injury prevention with soccer players of all ages, Kieran and ESC are proud to be providing education to the players as well as the parents, providing a health and prevention-focused program. They place a great focus on the educational aspect of soccer, taking care of your body from warm-ups to cool down, agility, footwork, strength and more. The coaches also have added programs for concussion screening for the athletes, as well as educational talks for the trainers/coaching staff.
The topic of the conversation moves along to the future of Evolution Soccer Club. “Me personally, I’m quite happy.” Kieran responds. Knowing the perils of growing too big, too fast, Kieran explains that when he was forming Evolution he met with countless families to figure out their likes and dislikes. The two main takeaways he came out with were to have good coaches and to communicate with the parents. “Those are two quite simple things that we can control,” Kieran states “but if you grow too big too fast, you struggle to keep that consistency across all levels.” Fielding twenty-seven teams, Kieran is more focused on making each one of those teams to be elite rather than trying to field twenty more teams. “I want to expand in the right way; not just grow for the sake of it.” Kieran ends the interview by saying, “Sustaining what we have and giving our clients the best experience possible is what Evolution Soccer Club is, and that’s all I want for the future as well.”
With teams starting at 2nd grade and going through to varsity high school, Evolution Soccer Club has a full array of teams for both the boys and the girls. To find out more information about Kieran Howarth and Evolution Soccer Club, please visit their website: