Widest Selection Of Goalkeeper Gloves And Apparel Anywhere
Customer Service Is Our Greatest Priority
HOURS FOR FEBRUARY 24 - MARCH 01, 2020:
Call or Stop in Today
9959-A W 143rd St
Orland Park, Illinois 60462
Across from Orland Park Elementary School.
A Chicago South Suburban family with a rich soccer history opened a new store, Soccer & More, in the heart of the Orland Park, Illinois shopping district.
The location was previously occupied by a soccer store, whose owners decided to exit from the retail sports apparel business. While new occupant Soccer & More provides continuity to the community, its retail space has been transformed into a visually dazzling soccer specialty shop rich in atmosphere, offering a variety of soccer cleats, balls, shin guards, socks, backpacks, warm ups, rain gear, goalie jerseys, pants and gloves and more... such as officially licensed Chicago Blackhawks apparel.
Its large inventory includes a complete line of such big brand names as Lotto, Mueller, Puma, Select & Uhlsport.
"We want to be the destination of choice for the entire south suburban area. When they need new soccer gear, or team uniforms or simply custom t-shirts, we would like them to think of us first," said Vivian Minervini, a Homer Glen resident and part of the family "workforce" that chips in to make the venture survive in tough economic times. Vivian's daughter, Mara, has also helped out at the store when needed.
Vivian's son, Paul, has remodeled the entire interior of the store. Paul, who played soccer for Homewood-Flossmoor High School and was also on the Homewood-Flossmoor Soccer Club boys' travel team that won the Illinois State Cup in 1986, has built a storage room for the newly added shoe inventory. Paul has also added slat walls all around the interior, to better display the shoes and the new soccer inventory.
Vivian's husband Joseph, born in Udine, Italy, upgraded the lighting in the store.
"There are many children that come to the store, tagging along with their older brother or sister. We have comic books, soccer, baseball, football & hockey trading cards and even action figures, so that hopefully there is something attractive and interesting in our store for the entire family," Vivian said. "We also are carrying a dozen different soccer magazines, including some popular ones from England, and some from Italy that local Italian residents should enjoy.
She said her family has a rich tradition of soccer.
"My father, Italo Marchionna, whose family came from Castel di Sangro, Italy, played professionally in New York in the 1950s," she said. "He was an avid fan of Italian soccer. Juventus was always his favorite team, but he also rarely missed any Chicago Sting home games and never missed any of his grandson's (Paul) soccer games."
When the family lived in Naples, Italy, during the 1960s, her best friend, Connie, married a soccer player named Giorgio Chinaglia, who was playing for a Third Division team called Internapoli.
Chinaglia went on to the First Division in Italy (Serie A), playing for Lazio of Rome, winning the Italian championship in 1974 and was also the league leading scorer that year with 24 goals. He also played for Italy in the 1974 World Cup, before moving to New York to play for the Cosmos, along with Pele. Chinaglia went on to become the most prolific goal scorer in U.S. professional soccer history and was still a close friend of the family until he suddenly passed away in Naples, Florida on April 1, 2012, at the age of 65.
"One of the highlights of my brother's life was when Giorgio Chinaglia introduced him to Pele, the king of soccer, on the field during a Cosmos practice session at the old Soldier Field in Chicago, the day before a game against the Chicago Sting," Vivian said. "In 2004, thanks to Giorgio, we also met Sir Alex Ferguson in Chicago prior to a Manchester United friendly at Soldier Field which Giorgio had organized."
Today, her brother, Ron Marchionna, has two sons, Michael and Ron Gabriele, who both play on traveling soccer teams. Ron coached youth soccer for many years, including his nephew Paul's team, and even ran a small travel club called the Marchionna All-Stars. Ron also took teams all over the country to play in 3v3 soccer tournaments.
When Vivian's brother was attending Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, they did not have a soccer program. He started the Bloom High School Soccer Club there, which later evolved into their high school soccer program. He later formed a men's soccer team called Inter Milan, which competed in the National Soccer League in Chicago against the ethnic teams from Italy, Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Argentina.
Why Inter Milan? While growing up in Italy, his father did take him to see great games such as Napoli vs. Torino and Napoli vs. Juventus at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples. What an experience! But Ron was captivated by the "Grande Inter" team that won 2 consecutive European Championships (now called the Champions League) and was considered the best team on the planet at the time. That passion has been passed down to his sons. Never having seen them in person, the entire family recently traveled to Baltimore just to see Inter Milan play a pre-season friendly in the U.S. Yes, some things just have to be done without question.
Not forgetting his roots and with a feeling of great pride for his alma mater, Ron offers a discount to all members of the Bloom High School soccer program. Soccer team players from his nephew Paul's alma mater, Homewood-Flossmoor High School, enjoy the same discount, as do the "hometown" Carl Sandburg High School soccer team players.
"As you can see, soccer has always been and still is a huge part of our lives. This store is just the latest chapter in our family book and allows us to do something that we enjoy, as we share our passion for the sport with our customers," Vivian said.
To introduce themselves to the residents of Orland Park, they gave away a store T-shirt to the first 1000 people that walked through their doors, even if they did not make a purchase. Two years later, there is a feeling of satisfaction when someone is spotted walking around town wearing an "original" Soccer & More t-shirt. For Soccer & More, this is just the beginning.