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Kyle Knotek

Kyle

Co-Founder / Expert Skills Coach

Kyle is the co-founder of True Player Development. He was talented at a young age, but didn’t have anything special that would make him a “natural pro.” Nevertheless, that was his mission in life so he spent his life analyzing nearly every aspect of the game and learning to work in the smartest/most effective ways to adopt all the vital pro skills; it culminated him signing professional contracts in 4 different countries (both US and abroad) despite tearing both ACLs in his twenties. His 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. 

(Click on the Photo Below to Read All-American Article.)

 

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 so he had missed the first 8 games of the 2018-2019 II. liga’s season due to his late transfer from his Swedish club. Knotek was one of two Americans playing professionally in Slovakia at the time. ŠTK Fluminense Šamorín was owned/run by top league Brazilian side Fluminense. His Brazilian manager was recently part of the Brazilian side that won the 2021 Olympic gold medal. Knotek 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.

Lauren Sajewich

Lauren for Website

Hey everybody! My name is Lauren, and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this beautiful game. I love soccer and am continually amazed how it is a vehicle in forming lifelong relationships and teaching lifelong lessons in my life. I have had the opportunity to play on some really great teams and not so great teams, but the experiences found in both have helped shaped the person I am today. I think the joys and challenges found in competing with the player as well as relating to the person allowed me to see people and relationships in a more wholesome way. As a coach now, I hope to pass along stories and experiences to players to meet them where they are at and help them see all they can be!

I played on Chicago Inter before moving to Eclipse my sophomore year of high school. At the time, Chicago Inter was a smaller club, which was great for my development as a player. Moving to Eclipse, the club was bigger, and the soccer world expanded so much for me. I loved the competitive environment and the close-knit atmosphere across the high school age teams. The older girls were role models for the younger girls, and I know for my team, we took this responsibility seriously. We wanted the club to be a unit and many times teammates and I would stay after our training to play with the younger players training after us, or at least be around them. This is something I am excited to help build at TPD!

I played my freshman year at Lincoln-Way North. It was a great experience playing high school soccer. I got to play with some of my best friends and represent the school. My freshman year we reached Sectionals before being beat by a very good Carl Sandburg team.

Texas Christian University was my home for college, and it always will be! I loved my time in Texas. I played from 2013-2017, and though it didn’t start out the way I would have hoped, my senior season we made it to the Big 12 Championship game and lost to a West Virginia team who went on to play in the NCAA National Final and boasted players who now play for PSG and Lyon, some of the best teams in Europe. Making it to the final helped the program get its first ever bid to the NCAA tournament, and this was a huge deal. Often times, getting the door opened to the national tournament can be the hardest because the grind is long and the results don’t come easy or often. I went to TCU hoping to win championships and though, as a player I wasn’t able to see that goal fulfilled, now as an alum, I do see it fulfilled. I just received a Big 12 Back-to-Back Championship ring in the mail from the staff at TCU in appreciation for the efforts of the players before who laid the groundwork for the successes of the program today. I still have great relationships with the staff at TCU and am incredibly proud of their determination and perseverance to bring the program to the heights it has achieved. I received the honors of being named Team MVP my freshman and senior years, as well as the incredible opportunity to start every game of my career. So a big thank you to TCU and GO FROGS!

I could write a whole book on the treasures of my pro experience, far beyond winning two Danish League titles and qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League. God gave me the opportunity to play pro soccer overseas at a time when I thought I was finished with soccer. I had a coach ask me one day how I knew I could be a pro. This is something I have reflected on and want to pass along to younger players. If you have the dreams of being a pro one day, be a pro today! Be a pro before signing your name on the dotted line. I experienced so many ups and downs during my two years playing in Denmark, but hopefully, more days than not, I could say I gave all of myself to the game and the club. This is what being a pro means to me. If you have the desire and the passion, give all of yourself to it. Not just in hours training and maxing out in games. This is what you paid to do, of course, but I would argue even more importantly be a person committed to the people. Max out giving yourself to your teammates, the staff, all the people who do the things in the club and around it that no one sees. These people are awesome. I look back on my time as a pro in Denmark and am so thankful to have been able to play at a level I never thought I would reach, but even more so the ability to form relationships with people I never thought I could relate to on such a deep and personal level!

Louie Mojica

louie

A native of St. Charles, Illinois, Louie has been a life-long fan of soccer. While he had plenty success as a player, his true fulfillment comes from sharing his knowledge and experience with the next crop of soccer enthusiasts. As an ambassador of the sport, one of Coach Louie’s primary intentions is to ensure future players have an appreciation for the life lessons soccer can teach: developing a growth mindset, overcoming adversity, working as a team, and personal accountability.

Louie developed as a youth player under Campton United from a u10 – u18. In between, he was fortunate enough to guest play with various clubs within the area:
– most notably Chicago Magic at the highly touted Dallas Cup
-Chicago Sockers
-Rockford Raptors
-Sporting FC.
In addition, he was regularly asked to play up a couple ages with teams in the Campton set up. Louie attributes his technical ability to playing with players of all ages.
Louie attended St. Charles East High School and was a 3-year letter winner. He received All-Conference,  All-Area, All-Sectional, and All-State accolades. He was listed as one of the Daily Herald’s top midfielders in Illinois and received Team MVP honors his Junior and Senior seasons. 
Louie attended Northern Illinois University (a Division 1 soccer program) as part of a recruiting class that was ranked in the top 40 nationally by College Soccer News. In his junior season he was awarded MVP of The Governors Cup, a showcase between the universities representing Northern, Western, Eastern, and Western Illinois. During his senior campaign he was awarded Husky Invitational All-Tournament Team, All-MAC, and received Team MVP honors.
Bridges FC is an amateur team that specializes in preparing American soccer players for trials oversees. Within this setup, Louie received interest from the a top Dutch club, SC Herenveen, after defeating their under-23 squad 1-0 in which Louie provided the assist. 
Louie was part of two stints in Sweden. His first spell was with Sandviken AIK in the Division 2. He then played with Linkoping IF in Division 3 where he scored the winning goal to secure their promotion into the next level. For his part in gaining promotion, Louie was selected to the best 11 of the entire league.
In between stints in Sweden, Louie played for Bad Homburg in Germany. Due to injury, Louie had minimal participation but was able to trial with a team in a lower league (the Oberliga) of German Football. Ultimately, he declined the offer and returned home to continue training within the Bridges FC setup before hanging up his boots to pay the beautiful game forward.