MCKINLEY PARK — The Windy City Assault, a new semi-pro football team, is looking for 53 good South Side men.
"We're looking for 18-year-olds and all the way up, for college guys who don't go to the pros and guys who just have a passion for the game," said Brian Fogarty, 42, a union pipe insulator who's helping organize the team.
The Assault will be part of the Royal Football League, which consists of nine city and suburban semi-pro squads, including another neighborhood upstart squad, the Canaryville Outlaws, which is two games into in its inaugural year.
Casey Cora tells you how to join the newest team on the South Side:
Fogarty, who lives in Canaryville, said he wants the Windy City Assault to compete and win, but he also has an ulterior motive.
"I've been around to watch the [Insane] Deuces and how all of that s--- got started," Fogarty said, referring the Canaryville street gang whose turf includes the corner of 43rd Street and Union Avenue.
"We're trying to give these guys something to do. There's nothing for them to do after high school, so if we can promote something good, it's good for the neighborhood."
Joining the Assault will cost about $200 per person, which covers uniforms, league registration and insurance. Players are required to bring their own pads and show up for twice-weekly practices, most likely at McKinley Park beginning in August.
The teams are expected to practice throughout the winter — Fogarty said he's lining up an indoor facility — and the Assault will officially begin its season next summer.
But for now, the recruitment effort begins in earnest with a Facebook page and word-of-mouth chatter in the neighborhoods. Soon, Fogarty plans to print 10,000 flyers and post them around Bridgeport, McKinley Park, Armour Square and Canaryville.
As for the other local team, Outlaws coach Kyle Vonderheide said his squad is "always up for more competition."
Having two nearby South Side teams could "bleed into a rivalry at some point. It would be a fun game, a fun atmosphere," he said.
Now, about that team name.
Fogarty, himself a semi-pro gridiron veteran, said the moniker was kicked around amongst the team's board members and they came up with the "Assault."
"You can't go with the Windy City Creampuffs," he said.