CHICAGO – Daniel Faccone just needed another shot.
He dislocated his kneecap twice during his career at Prairie Ridge High school and didn’t have any game film from his senior season to show college recruiters. That’s when he got an email from Midwest Prep Sports Academy.
“The program is astounding and one of main reasons why I’m able to go to school and play in college,” Faccone said.
Faccone parlayed a season at Midwest Prep into a Division-1 offer at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania. The 19-year-old wide receiver is one of several success stories for the club sports program in Orland Hills.
“We are all about the kids,” said Midwest Prep head coach Tyron Richardson. “A lot of people coach for winning and getting hardware. Our focus is what we put into these kids and where they go after they leave us.”
Established in 2014, Midwest Prep targets high school seniors and post-graduates looking for another year of development or game film. The program schedules games against college competition like Aurora and Concordia Universities.
That is especially crucial in a school year when Illinois athletes were sidelined until the spring and scholarship offers languished.
“The good thing is more kids are finding out about us because they aren’t getting to play,” Richardson said. “They are finding out about this option that’s been around for eight years now in their backyard.”
Midwest Prep canceled its fall slate because of Covid-19 but is ready to kick off its first spring season March 13th. The three-month program maximizes an athlete’s exposure – from recruiting visits to workshops on building a highlight reel to offering NCAA certified classes for improving their GPA.
“When I was at fall camp at St. Francis a lot of kids didn’t know that once you go from high school to college it speeds up,” Faccone said. “I knew what to expect and was able to excel right away.”
“If you are humble and you are determined and trusting us, trust in our experience, we will maximize your ability,” said Midwest Prep offensive coordinator and former NFL running back Michael Blair.
For athletes wanting nothing more than another opportunity on the field, Midwest Prep wants to give them the ball. How far they run with it, is up to them.
“There are a lot of success stories because we take our time and do the work,” Richardson said. “We put our heart and soul in these kids for them to get the experience and make the transition from us to college seamless.”