October 18, 2012
HEART OF THE SOUL
Veteran Stewart signs, named captain, team taps into combine
The Chicago Soul FC has signed veteran midfielder and two-time MISL champion Matthew Stewart to a three-year deal, while also signing midfielder Judson McKinney out of the MISL tryout combine.
|Former Chicago Storm and Milwaukee Wave midfiekder Matt Stewart has signed with the Chicago Soul.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Stewart, 36, joins the Soul after spending the 2011-2012 campaign with the Milwaukee Wave, during which he earned his second MISL Championship with the squad. Prior to Milwaukee, Stewart played for the Rockford Rampage, where he served as captain and led the club in points (35), assists (9) and 3-point goals (2). His 16-year long professional playing career also consists of stints with the Chicago Storm (2004), Wave (2003-2004), El Paso Patriots (2002, 1997-1998), San Diego Sockers (2000-2003), and Houston Hotshots (1999-2000).
"I am very excited to be back in Chicago," said Stewart. "It's a great opportunity, and it's always exciting to be a part of a new franchise and an inaugural season. I look forward to working with some of my old teammates and friends again, as well as some new guys who will bring a lot to this organization."
Stewart, who has been named captain of the Soul, brings a great deal of experience to the club after serving as captain of the U.S. National Futsal Team in 2007, as well as representing the country in the 2008 Futsal World Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008. He was also named to the 2012 U.S. roster for the CONCAAF Futsal Championship.
"It's great to have Matt on the team," said Chicago Soul Assistant Coach and Stewart's former teammate, Novi Marojevic. "He is an excellent player and person. He brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the organization. He is someone I think our young players can definitely learn a lot from on and off the field."
The El Paso, Texas native, who holds a USSF National "A" license, has served as a coach for Campton United and Plainfield Legends, as well as a camp director for the Wave and Storm.
"I intend on using everything I have learned from my experiences and the many coaches I have had over my 16 years in professional soccer to teach and help the younger guys," said Stewart on his role as a leader of a new and young club. "I plan to lead by example and do whatever it takes to help our team out."
McKinney, 24, was invited to the Soul's training camp from the 2012 MISL Combine, which took place at the end of September in Kansas City, Missouri. Training camp for the Soul began on October 1.
"I am happy to sign with the Chicago Soul," said McKinney. "I was lucky to get invited to training camp by the team I had my sights on. After meeting the team and staff, I already feel like I am a part of the family. The Soul organization has exceeded my expectations by far. I could not be happier to be here."
McKinney was selected from hundreds of combine applicants. He was named to the combine's All-Star Team in Kansas City, which consisted of 22 players chosen by the MISL executives and coaches in attendance.
"Of all the players we saw at the combine, Novi [Marojevic] and I felt Judson would best suit our team's needs," said Chicago Soul Chief Executive Officer David Mokry. "Upon his arrival at training camp, we were reassured that he was the best fit for us, and we are thrilled to have him."
The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio native launched his professional career in 2010 playing for the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro. Prior to Charlotte, McKinney played Division I Soccer for the University of Cincinnati, where he earned Newcomer of the Year Award in 2006, helped lead the squad to winning the BIG East Championship in 2006, and received the Legion of Excellence Award in 2010.