Chicago Public Schools Soccer Athletes Affected by Teachers Strike Hope to Attract Scouts

CPS soccer athletes hoped to be noticed by scouts at a six-hour showcase on Friday

While many people spent Black Friday in search of deals, some Chicago Public Schools athletes spent the day on the soccer field, hoping to get scouted by colleges.

Hundreds of athletes convered on the Soccer Pitch in south suburban McCook Friday to show off their skills at a six-hour showcase.

CPS soccer teams were forced to forfeit their participation in state playoffs, which are typically attended by college scouts, during the 11-day Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Jair Canelo, a 17-year-old student-athlete at John F. Kennedy High School, believes he was "robbed" of a chance to show off his abilities.

Canelo said he plans to rely on a soccer scholarship to pay his way through college and beyond.

"Due to my situation and home, it would open the door to new things, not just in sports," he said. "I can study what I want to study."

Although the showcase was mentally and physically exhausting, Canello said his love for the game would help him get through it.

"I feel like soccer is a gateway," he said. "An escape from reality."

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