Chicago: Home to U.S. Soccer House
CHICAGO (July 6, 2004) - In the tradition of many world soccer federations and the FIFA House in Zurich, Switzerland, the U.S. Soccer Federation took up residence in two refurbished mansions in Chicago’s Prairie Avenue Historical District a little more than 12 years ago. The U.S. Soccer House, as it is now called, serves as the American home of the world’s most popular sport. Formerly located in Colorado Springs, U.S. Soccer moved their operational base into the Kimball and the Coleman-Ames mansions located at 1801 and 1811 South Prairie Avenue in December of 1991.
July 6, 2004
Prairie Avenue dates back more than 125 years, with construction beginning after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 when George Pullman, a railroad car millionaire built the first and finest mansion in 1873. Pullman’s friends followed his lead and built their own homes in the same neighborhood.
In 1873, the first of the two buildings which now house U.S. Soccer was built by William Wallace Kimball, founder of Kimball pianos and organs. The Kimball House, made of limestone and topped with a slate roof, has an exterior consisting of many large and small turrets, gables, balconies and iron-railed galleries. The ceilings are beamed in oak and mahogany, and the fireplaces are made of onyx, a dark gray stone.
Joseph Coleman, president of a hardware manufacturing firm, built the Coleman-Ames house that neighbors the Kimball House to the south just 13 years later in 1886. Like its predecessor, the Coleman-Ames House emulated the Kimball design with limestone bricks and a slate roof with a classic 19th century look. The interior also included oak and mahogany woodwork and a number of onyx fireplaces.
More than 50 years after their creation, a connecting link between the two houses was constructed in 1940 to unify the appearance of the neighboring homes.
U.S. Soccer originally moved to Chicago in late 1991 after the organization had out-grown its office space in Colorado Springs, Colo., the home of the United States Olympic Committee. Twenty-seven cities placed bids to be the future home of U.S. Soccer, with Chicago eventually being chosen over Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City because of its numerous media outlets, corporate hubs and transportation facilities.
After more than 100 years, the Coleman-Ames House is now home to U.S. Soccer’s coaching and referee departments, as well as the legal and membership services departments. To the north, the Kimball House is not only the site of U.S. Soccer's executive offices, but also house the Federation's communications, events and accounting employees.
Over the years, Soccer House has played host to a myriad of special events. When the United States hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the “Soccer House” hosted a welcoming reception for President Bill Clinton, FIFA executives such as Joseph S. Blatter, and soccer administrators from around the world. The historical appearance of the Soccer House has been used in several motion pictures, including extended use for the filming of “Primal Fear” starring Richard Gere.
Now the home of American soccer for 12 plus years, U.S. Soccer House's nooks and crannies and unique work place environment has helped the Federation grow through a period of unprecedented prosperity across the last two decades. Having hosted three FIFA World Cups since U.S. Soccer’s move to Prairie Avenue in 1991, the organization has emerged as one of the most respected Football Association's in the world.