DeKALB – A new football team coming to DeKalb next year will allow local players a chance to pursue a dream.
The Illinois Chaos minor league football team is planning to move from Aurora to DeKalb for the 2013 summer season. Formerly known as the Kane County Chaos, the team is part of The Great Midwest Football League, a summer league of 41 teams in seven states.
According to owner and head coach Lloyd Hatcher, the three-year-old team plays a 13-game schedule, including three preseason games, from June 2 to Sept. 15, followed by a playoff series. Games are played on Saturday nights.
Hatcher said the league is open to anyone 18 and older. The average age, he said, is mid-20s, although there are a few players in their 40s.
According to a press release, the Chaos helps players hoping to play at the college level by editing game films and making highlight tapes to send to recruiters and coaches. Players are not paid, so they retain college eligibility. The team also allows players who “just want to put on the pads again” a chance to relive their glory days. There is a $325 fee to play.
“It’s a great opportunity for players who haven’t strapped on the pads for awhile who want to pursue their dream,” Chris Mathews said.
Mathews, who played football at Dunbar High in Chicago and Iowa Wesleyan, as well as intramurals at Northern Illinois University, came up with the idea of moving the team to DeKalb.
“The last few years, as a student at NIU, I played intramural and I just noticed there was a lot of athletes there,” he said. “I tried to walk on (the Huskies) and there were like 150 other walk-ons. There’s a boatload of talent out here.”
“We have a lot of post-college guys and weekend warrior guys who want to continue to play,” Hatcher said, adding that his team carries a 55-player roster.
Mathews may be the best example of what the Chaos is seeking. After being away from the game for four years, he tried out for the team last season as a cornerback/safety.
Once a home field has been established, Hatcher said games will feature music, cheerleaders, raffles and more.
“We really make it fun for families of all ages,” he said.
If players are willing to commit to the program, Mathews said the Chaos could possibly make “DeKalb a real football town.”
Another group had planned to start an indoor football team, the DeKalb Dawgs, in DeKalb for the summer of 2013. According to the team’s chief operating officer, Michael T. Dortch, a scheduling conflict with the Convocation Center has forced them to locate in the Fox Valley area instead.
Illinois Chaos Informational Meeting
4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 Heritage Room, Holmes Student Center, DeKalb More information: chaosfootball.com