Pro Mentors

Click the Name to find out more

1

Michael Hartmann



2

Eric Gehrig

3

Eric Gehrig

5

Eric Gehrig

4

Eric Gehrig

6

Jacob Bushue

8

Kyle Knotek

Kyle Knotek

Kyle True Pro Smiling Edited white background

Founder/ Retired USA/Europe Pro

Kyle is the Founder of True Pro Development. He was talented at a young age, but was never going to be born a pro; he would have to work tirelessly to get there; it was his mission in life though which resulted in him spending his life analyzing nearly every aspect of the game and learning to work in the smartest/most effective ways to adopt all the skills necessary to compete at the top levels. His new life mission/goal is to help players learn everything they can (on/off the field) from this beautiful game. Kyle has done almost everyting an American-Born Soccer (football) player can do. Click on the different tabs to learn more. 

Chicago Magic 1987-1988

Knotek played/grew up in the #1 men’s club in the USA – Chicago Magic 1987/1988 (Note: This was before the Academy System or MLS Next leagues/systems were around so all the best teams/players played here.) Before moving here, Knotek started with a couple local clubs including Campton United SC before being identified by the Chicago Magic. After joining the Chicago Magic, he went on to win 5 state titles, 3 Midwest Regional Championships, and made it to 2 National Final Matches. 

In these years,  Knotek was also involved in the Olympic Development Program (ODP) where he was selected to the state team and regional team every year he participated (3x) which injcluded international trips to Italy and Costa Rica. Kyle was also brought in with the U15 national team for a trip to Mexico during his freshman year.

Geneva Vikings High School

Even though Knotek was recently identified as one of the top players in the country for his age, the sophomore coach still wouldn’t bring Knotek, as a freshman, up to the mediocre sophomore team for Geneva on account of his size. Shortly after this, the varsity coach decided to bring Knotek, as a freshman, to the 2nd ranked varsity team in the state. As a junior, he helped lead the Geneva Vikings team to win the regional, sectional, and super-sectional titles ending in their trip to State (the final 8 teams.)

Individually, Knotek was named to the All-Sectional Team as a sophmore, the All-State Team as a junior, and the All-Midwest Team (right below All-American) as a Senior.

Northern Illinois University (Division 1)

Kyle chose to accept a large scholarship and go to a local Division 1 school close to home called  Northern Illinois University. Throughout his career at NIU, Knotek played various positions including outside back, outside midfield and center midfield. He started nearly every game he played at NIU including the Huskies 2006 MAC title game vs Akron (which they won in his freshman year); Knotek also played in the Huskies win over the Loyola Ramblers in the NCAA Division 1 Tournament First Round and their loss to the Indiana Hoosiers in the Second Round.

Despite Tearing his ACL (right) in his senior season after a successful summer with highly-touted Chicago Fire PDL squad, Knotek had a fairly successful career both on and off the field where he was selected as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Second Team member in his junior year and then later selected as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s Soccer First Team member in his red-shirt senior season.

Knotek spent the majority of his college summers playing for the Chicago Fire Premier. During his time there, the organization was successful highlighted by the Fire PDL’s appearance in the 2009 PDL National Championship in which he started.

FC Gifu

After finishing his college career, Knotek was selected to attend the USL’s 2011 combine. His performance earned him a trial with F.C. Gifu in the J. League Division 2. After a month on trial and a short-term contract offer, Knotek chose to leave due to the escalating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that occurred while he was on trial.

Dayton Dutch Lions

Later in 2011, Knotek was selected by the Dayton Dutch Lions as the #10 for upcoming 2012 United Soccer League season. In 2012, the Dutch Lions did not have much success in the United Soccer League, but they did manage quarter final run 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before eventually losing to the eventual champions Sporting Kansas City. During this year, Knotek was honored as part of the United Soccer League’s team of the week on May 15 and July 24 in addition to one honorable mention on May 22. 

Knotek re-signed for the Dutch Lions in 2013, but, after starting the first two games, his season was ended short by a season-ending injury (Left ACL tear/lateral meniscus tear.) 11 months later after surgery/lots of rehab, Knotek signed a 3rd contract with The Dayton Dutch Lions where he started the season before he left to pursue opportunities overseas with the renowned Chicago program, Bridges FC; a program that helps players make the transition to Europe.

Palloseura Kemi King

After leaving Dayton and in transfer window, Knotek signed with the Palloseura Kemi Kings, who were at the top of the table in the Kakkonen Pohjoinen (Northern). The Palloseura Kemi Kings went on to win the league and also win their promotion playoff into the Ykkönen.

Närpes_Kraft_Fotbollsförening

After a successful trial, Knotek was signed, at the time, as the only Non-European Union player for Närpes Kraft Fotbollsförening. He signed as a central midfielder, but also spent time in the outside midfield and at wingback as well. In his time there, Knotek went on to earn individual prizes in all the different positions for his performances (both at home and on the road.)

FC Linköping City 

During the 2017 FC Bridges annual trip to Europe, Knotek left before the scouting period in Sweden to accept a trial with FC Linköping City where he was offered a contract after attending their mid-season training camp and performing well in his test game. Once the paperwork was cleared, Knotek started every game relevant to promotion for FC Linköping City. He played primarily as a holding center midfielder in their 4-2-3-1, but also logged minutes as winger; Knotek logged the second most minutes of any FC Linköping City field player during his time there in 2016. FC Linköping City was very successful when Knotek played with a record of 9-2-2 including a couple draws in the promotional qualification phase that ended up knocking them out on points.

Knotek returned to FC Linköping City in an effort to help the team promote to Division 1 in 2017. He signed as both a holding midfielder (#6) and a box to box midfielder (#8) with the ability to play as a winger (as he did for a couple games in his first spell with FC Linköping City.) He started the season as a box to box midfielder and scored the team’s first goal of the season in their home opener, but was then moved back to #6 (holding central midfielder) to help solidify a struggling defense; the team went on to record the fewest goals in the league at the season’s end.

It was a prosperous season for both FC Linköping City and Knotek; FC Linköping City winning the league and earning promotion with a record of 21 wins, 4 draws, and 1 loss while Knotek was 1 of only 3 players nominated after the season for Midfielder of the League even though he only appeared in 15 of the team’s 28 games due to immigration complications.

Knotek was forced to miss FC Linköping City’s preseason due to an injury picked up in his off-season training. After regaining his form, Knotek returned to the squad and was a mainstay in the midfield playing in every match except a couple that he was forced to miss because of card suspensions. Shortly after the mid-season break, Knotek was offered and accepted a contract by a team owned/operation by Brazilian Premier League side FLuminense called ŠTK Fluminense Šamorín in the Slovak 2. Liga.

ŠTK Fluminense Šamorín 

Knotek arrived in Šamorín from FC Linköping City in early September missing the first 8 games of the 2018-2019 II. liga’s season due to his late transfer from his Swedish club. He made his home debut playing the full 90 in a 6 – 0 win over Žilina B marking ŠTK Fluminense Šamorín’s first clean sheet in the last 10 league matches and their biggest win of the season. He ended up helping the team climb out of relegation by helping to spark a 4-2-2 run in his first 8 games there. 

2017 FC Linköping City

League Champions

Earned Promotion to 1st Division

2014 Palloseura Kemi Kings

League Champions

Earned Promotion

Chicago Fire Premier

2009 PDL Central Conference Champions

2009 PDL North American Finalist

Chicago Fire Super 20’s

2007 North American Super-20 Runners-up (Epping, NH)

  • 2017 Midfielder of the Year Finalist – Sweden Division 2 Södra Svealand
  • USL (USA Professional League) Team of the Week May 15, 2012
  • USL (USA Professional League) Team of the Week July 24, 2012
  • USL (USA Professional League) Team of the Week Honorable Mention May 22, 2012
  • College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN Division 1 Academic All-America 1st Team
  • College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN Division 1 Academic All-America 2nd Team.