The Illinois football team has used Rantoul for the team’s training camp for the past 17 years. This tradition started in 1998 with Ron Turner and continued until new coach Love Smith had change of heart and decided to do preseason training on the UI campus.
For the town of 12,000, the preseason training had become something of tradition. It will remain so this year, just for a different sport: soccer. The training, titled “Base Camp Rantoul” will see the Illinois soccer team undergo a week of preseason training early August.
Rantoul Recreation Superintendent Luke Humphrey gave the team management a walk through of the towns facilities and showed how it would benefit the team. They are known for their top notch facilities.
Rayfield wants to treat the camp a preparation phase. This is where Rantoul is ideal with all the necessary facilities within close proximity to each other. He likened it to a space camp and preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
He went on to add “That’s something that will be pretty unique to the preseason that we’ve never had before and something that will really benefit us.”
This year they will be without their all time goal scorer Jannelle Flaws. Coach Rayfield is hoping this camp in Rantoul will ease the transition.
Several of the training sessions will be open to the public and media.
“I am thrilled that we are able to continue our long-standing relationship with their community,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said. “I know firsthand what a positive, productive experience awaits our soccer student-athletes.”