DeKalb County United, one of the founding members of the Midwest Premier League, has announced two significant changes to the team and executive staff.
Last week, Mike Gecan resigned as Head Coach, ending his four-year tenure with the club.
“As our club heads into another offseason, I will be stepping away as head coach of a program that has truly captured my heart,” Gecan said. “I’ve had the privilege of coaching some very hard-working and talented players, met a lot of selfless volunteers, and felt the support of more fans than I could have ever imagined.”
Club President John Hall stated that Gecan planned on coaching just three to four seasons when he took the position back in 2017. “He notified me the week before the last match and I’m happy he was able to leave on his own terms,” Hall said. “He gave his all to the club during his tenure and we appreciate all he did in his time here. He’s part of our club no matter what.”
After joining as Head Coach, Gecan led the club through two seasons in the UPSL before taking United through the inaugural Midwest Premier League season. The highlight, however, surely was the club’s run to the semi-finals of the Illinois State Cup tournament, the club’s best ever showing in the tournament.
As for finding Gecan’s replacement? “We’re fortunate that we’ve already had some people reach out about the position and, if you know me, I am prepared for most things in running this club,” Hall said. “But there is no rush at this point, so we’ll take our time and get the right person to fill the role.”
Adding to the changes at the club, DeKalb hired Eric Luzzi as Sporting Director, the first in club history. Luzzi was tapped for the job earlier this week, effective immediately.
“It’s been pretty amazing to see how our President John Hall, the board, and the army of volunteers in the club have grown it over the last few years,” Luzzi said. “When they approached me about this role, it just seemed to fit well with where I am right now in terms of my areas of interest within the game.”
Luzzi is the former Northern Illinois Men’s Soccer Head Coach and serves as Technical Director/Director of Player Development at Arlington Aces Soccer Club. With Gecan leaving, it seems to be an interesting time for a Sporting Director to join, and Luzzi
sure does seem to realize the gap Gecan leaves behind.
“I did obviously know [Gecan was leaving] by the time I formally accepted the job last week.” Luzzi added, “I was looking forward to working with Coach Gecan. It is clear that he was extremely committed to the club and put a lot of time and effort into building things on the field. That being said, I totally understand his desire to step away when he did.”
Luzzi will have a challenge on his hands. He inherits a team without a head coach that struggled mightily in league play. United secured just seven points from 11 Midwest Premier League matches, good for 11th out of 12 teams.
“I’ve always been impressed with how this club is run, and now I’m truly excited to be able to play a part in the club’s success on the field,” Luzzi said. “I look forward to working with our coaching staff, current and future players, and club board to continue to build a team that will
represent the best of what DKCU stands for as a club.”