Discover | Oswego

September 2020 View more

Julianne Sitch has spent much of her life on the soccer field, with her professional career taking her as far as Sweden and Australia. The former Chicago Red Stars player—who recently rejoined the team as assistant coach—made her first soccer moves growing up in Oswego.

“Every time I go back to Oswego, I just feel like it’s home,” says Sitch, who is 36 and the youngest of three children. Her parents both grew up in Aurora and moved their family of five to Oswego when Sitch was in second grade.

She started playing soccer at age 5 and also did gymnastics, track, basketball, volleyball, and softball. “I remember playing softball … and always going to Dairy Hut [for ice cream] after the game and you’d see all the other teams there,” she says.

Popular destinations for visitors to Oswego include the riverfront at Millstone Park (4669 Mill Road), wooded enclaves at Waa Kee Sha Park (4700 Reservation Road), and 18 holes to play at Fox Bend Golf Course (3516 U.S. 34). Sitch fondly remembers playing sports in Oswego’s many parks, especially the soccer fields at PrairieFest Park.

Looking back at Oswego’s growth over the years is nostalgic for Sitch. “It was such a farm town and so quiet. You could drive all the way down [Route] 34 and not hit a stoplight,” she says. “Then every time I came home from college, there was something new happening. A Target, a Meijer, a Walmart—everything continued to grow.”

After graduating from Oswego High School and DePaul University, Sitch kicked off her professional soccer career, playing abroad as well as for a number of U.S. teams, including the Chicago Red Stars. After retiring as a player, she coached women’s soccer at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago before joining the Red Stars coaching team this year.

Though her family no longer lives in Oswego, Sitch is now back in the ’burbs: She recently moved to Naperville with her partner, Shannon DeNinno, who coaches women’s soccer at Aurora University.


Natural resources
The Oswegoland Park District—which includes not only Oswego, but also parts of Montgomery, Plainfield, and Aurora—has 1,290 acres of parkland, 64 parks, and 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking.

Back in 2021
PrairieFest, Oswego’s annual summer festival, has been featured on the Cooking Channel and Food Network.

Native culture
The land that is now Oswego was first owned by the local Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes.

Full speed
The village has some storied racing history: A drag-racing strip called Oswego Drag Raceway was paved in the 1950s and hosted race events until the ’70s.

Photo Courtesy Oswegoland Park District