Semi-Pro soccer club Rockford FC has completed its head coach search following former coach Brett Suhayda's resignation due to conflicts with his full time position. Suhayda provided RFC with a solid foundation through its first two playing seasons, leading to growth on the field and two 815 Cup victories during his tenure. With him stepping down, the club enters a new era. We'd like to thank coach Suhayda for all he's done for Rockford FC, and we look forward to building on that foundation he provided.
Denzel Pettigrew will be taking over the head coach role into the 2023 Midwest Premier League season. This year sees the Gears entering the renamed Heartland Conference, featuring teams from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, including clubs with national championship pedigree. The club will be looking to take another step forward after its 8th place finish in the conference in 2022, and this will also be the club's first year entering the Illinois Tony Dallas State Cup.
Out of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, Pettigrew is young at 30, but he has experience coaching, playing, and even as an owner at this level. Pettigrew founded the Brew City Legends in 2018, who now participate professionally in the MLIS and the PASL, and is the first African American owner of a professional indoor soccer club. In addition to coaching the Legends in previous years, he is the JV head coach at Shorewood High School and former assistant coach at Pratt Community College. He also coaches outside of soccer, owning and coaching the Wisconsin 2Legendary Elite semi-pro basketball team and running his own personal training company. During his playing career, he trained internationally with Schulz Academy in Austria as well as domestically for NPSL club LC Aris FC and in college at Pratt Community College, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Dubuque.
Pettigrew spoke about the club after his signing, "I'm excited to be part of this organization! I think Rockford has a good base of players, and I'm excited to help build this team and help the players reach their full potentials. We are going to have a very successful year!"
Rockford FC President Brendan Noble expressed his enthusiasm about Pettigrew, "Denzel clearly has the passion both on and off the field to help us push forward in 2023. There are few people with such well-rounded soccer experience at his age, and I thoroughly believe he's the coach to help this club grow into the future."
The Midwest Premier League season kicks off in May and runs until the end of July. You can join Denzel and Rockford FC for every by pre-ordering your season tickets now, making you a member of the RFC community and giving you special perks like a free scarf (or jersey), discounted merch, and bring-a-friend vouchers. You can also keep updated on all things RFC by joining our email list.