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Chicago Fire

11 December 7:25 pm

Iconic Mexican legend and former Fire attacker Cuauhtemoc Blanco has announced he'll retire following Lobos BUAP's finish of the Liga de Acenso's Apertura tournament next year.

Rated as perhaps the best Mexican player of all-time, Blanco became the first Designated Player in Chicago Fire history when he signed with the Men in Red in 2007. He'd go on to appear in 77 matches, tallying 19 goals and 28 assists with Chicago through the 2009 season before returning to Mexico with Veracruz.

As part of the club's 15th Anniversary in 2012, Blanco was also named as one of the Top 15 players in Chicago Fire history. 

Blanco is Mexico's second all-time leading goal scorer, tallying 39 goals across 119 appearances and represented "El Tri" at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

Most interestingly, the above article also states that one of his planned send off friendlies next year will be in the United States...

11 December 12:03 pm

The club announced Wednesday that Fire Original and Ring of Fire member C.J. Brown would be returning to the Men in Red as an assistant coach under Frank Yallop.

As the longest tenured Fire player of all time and the club’s appearance record holder, C.J.’s return is a special one for old and young supporters of the club. To celebrate C.J. coming back to the Windy City, we’re giving supporters three chances to win autographed C.J. Brown jerseys today via Fire Social Media.

INSTAVIDEO: Upload your best impression of the “CJ Dance” to Instavideo with #CJsBack and be entered to win… In case you forgot what that looks like, watch it here...

FACEBOOK: Simply LIKE this post by 11:59pm CT Wednesday and be entered to win.

TWITTER: Simply RT the below tweet and FOLLOW @ChicagoFire by 11:59pm CT Wednesday and be entered to win.

STAY TUNED: We'll announce the winners on Thursday morning!

09 December 10:32 am

The Chicago Fire is proud to show its ongoing support for the Greater Chicago Food Depository by participating in the organization’s Social Donation Plate campaign. The objective of the campaign is to help raise awareness and collect funds for hunger relief this holiday season.

The campaign features special, customized social donation plates from prominent Chicago figures, institutions and teams. Supporters of the cause will be asked to virtually “sign” their favorite plate and make a modest donation. Once a donation is made, the user experience allows individuals to “pass the plate” to friends via social media.

In support of hunger relief, the Fire has created a social donation plate for fans and supporters to virtually sign and pass along within the community.

“We’re happy to continue our partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and assist them in their efforts to raise awareness and funds for hunger relief,” said Chicago Fire Senior Director of Community Relations Jessica Yavitz. “I think the social donation plate campaign is a great way for our fans to engage in the cause, as well. We’re thrilled to help promote this unique project and collaborate to end hunger in our community.”

To sign the Fire plate, please visit click here.

Chicago Fire join Greater Chicago Food Depository in the Social Plate Donation campaigh

06 December 8:28 am

Newly crowned 2013 Volkswagen MLS MVP Mike Magee spoke briefly with local Chicago media via conference call Thursday. Below is a transcript of the conversation

On initial reaction to receiving the honor…

First and foremost, this still feels a little surreal. The year was great — all but the ending. I’m so thankful to be a part of such an amazing organization as the Chicago Fire and blessed to be home with my family. I’m pumped that people voted for me, and completely humbled by it. Like I said, it’s still very surreal.

On envisioning this moment/achievement beforehand…

I never envisioned receiving this award. I absolutely never had my sights set on it. Obviously, the last time I was thinking about getting an award like MVP was probably in U16 club soccer, so it’s been a long time. After 16, the first time I thought about it was probably when Taylor Twellman mentioned it during a broadcast of a game earlier this season.

On when winning the award became a realistic idea…

I think towards the end of the year, I thought I had a chance, but I was so focused on trying to get my team to the playoffs. Obviously, when we came up short, I thought I had no chance, and then once Camilo scored a hat trick in his game, I thought luck wasn’t on my side. So, this definitely came as a surprise.

On the award helping make a case for a call up to U.S. Men's National Team…

I don’t think it hurts it, but as far as helping it, probably not that much. I think Jurgen is a very smart man and obviously a good coach. I don’t think he’s going around checking stats or seeing what individual awards guys got. At least I hope not. Well, for my sake, I hope he is. [Laughs] But for the sake of our country, I hope he’s not.

On being grouped with other Chicago MVPs, such as Michael Jordan and Walter Payton…

When you put it that way, obviously, it’s amazing. Not by any means am I calling myself Michael Jordan or Walter Payton, but to be on a short list or any list at all with the likes of guys I grew up loving and pretending to be — to be on any list with them is a list I will certainly keep.

05 December 1:18 pm

With his announcement as 2013 MLS MVP Thursday, Mike Magee joined an exclusive list of Chicago athletes that have won their league's Most Valuable Player awards.

Magee's name joins the likes of Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Stan Mikita, Ernie Banks and Frank Thomas in the Chicago MVP club.

UPDATE! Magee did a short conference call with local media following this afternoon in Kansas City and I had the nerve to ask him what it felt like to be included in such a club. His answer:

"When you put it that way, obviously, it’s amazing. Not by any means am I calling myself Michael Jordan or Walter Payton, but to be on a short list or any list at all with the likes of guys I grew up loving and pretending to be — to be on any list with them is a list I will certainly keep."

Check out all 20 of the city's professional MVPs from the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox below:

05 December 10:31 am

In case you were in a meeting, devoid of a smart phone or just sleeping in under a rock, Fire forward Mike Magee was named MLS MVP Thursday morning.

In honor of Mike garnering the league's highest individual award, we're giving Fire supporters an opportunity to win a signed Magee primary jersey Thursday only.

All you have to do is Retweet the below tweet AND follow @ChicagoFire on Twitter by 11:59pm CT to be entered! Get to it...

 

04 December 7:34 pm

Since 2001, the Mock World Cup Draw has been a fixture of sorts in the Crandall Household. Let’s be real though, the scale of it was quite small and usually just consisted of me pulling names out of a hat alone in my room.

Alas, Wednesday I took advantage of the soccer constituency available around the club’s Toyota Park office and welcomed my co-workers to the 2014 Chicago Fire Mock World Cup draw in Conference Room 1...

Chicago Fire 2014 Mock World Cup draw

All of the spelled out procedures for Friday’s draw were followed, such as pulling the odd ninth team out of the European Pot. Fire Season Ticket Services Representative Emily Morris assisted with this and randomly selected England.

We also automatically placed hosts Brazil into Group A…

Chicago Fire 2014 Mock World Cup draw

And then began placing the remaining seven seeds into their groups...

Which ended up looking like this...

Then in order to place England into a group, we put the four South American teams back into a Pot, and drew....

Finally, we drew the mixed South America/Africa pot and came away with this grouping...

Emily then began to draw the mixed CONCACAF/AFC pot...With many in the room holding U.S. and Mexico cheering interests, this proved most dramatic...

 

The European pot was the last to be drawn, adding to the drama and finality of the mock draw. A proud U.S. Men's National Team supporter, Emily was left doing this face after completing the draw...

And this is why...

Suffice to say, no U.S. fan came away from this exercise doing this...

...but thankfully, I'm not Sepp Blatter and this thing was just for fun.

Do your own mock draw ahead of Friday's official event (the spelled out procedures can be found here). Then join us for our World Cup Draw Bracket Brunch Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Ave.).

04 December 10:29 am

FIFA revealed the pots and procedures for the 2014 FIFA World Cup draw set to be held Friday morning in Coasta do Sauipe, Brazil.

The Pots:

Pot 1 (Seeds): Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2 (CAF/CONMEBOL): Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria
Pot 3 (AFC/CONCACAF): Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, USA
Pot 4 (UEFA): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia*

The procedure:

Step One: This is really the only variation from the previous wisdom on the draw. Instead of putting the lowest seeded team (in this case France) into Pot 2, FIFA will randomly draw one team out of Pot 4 to go into the mix CAF/CONMEBOL group of teams.

Step Two: Pot 1 will be drawn with Brazil automatically going into Group A. The rest of the seeded teams will be randomly drawn into Groups B-H and will also automatically take Position 1 (B1, C1, D1, etc…) in their group. This is important because there is already a set schedule which corresponds to each group position.

Step Three: With a mixed pot of three confederations, Pot 2 would run the risk of breaking FIFA’s rule of geographic separation which keeps nations from the same confederation (outside of two from UEFA) from being in the same group. In order to avoid having three European teams, there will be an additional “Pot X” featuring the four seeded South American teams. The country drawn out of this pot will automatically be grouped with the carryover UEFA team in the already established group.

Pot two will then be drawn, with all countries being pulled with a corresponding number to assign their group position. In the event that Chile or Ecuador is drawn into a South American seeded group, that group will be skipped with the country going into the next available (European seeded) group.

Step Four: Draw pots three and four.

Step Five: Celebrate or mourn your country’s prospects for next summer in Brazil.

Watch all the drama go down with your fellow lovers of the "Beautiful Game" at our World Cup Bracket Brunch this Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Avenue)! Stay tuned to Chicago-Fire.com as we'll conduct our own mock draw later on Wednesday.

Chicago Fire 2014 World Cup Bracket Brunch on Friday, December 6 at Fado Irish Pub

03 December 12:27 pm

Mike Magee became the first Chicago Fire player since Wilman Conde in 2009 to grab an MLS Best XI selection on Tuesday. The Chicago native joined an exclusive club of 14 players that have earned the honor while with the Men in Red, adding up to 22 total selections (third highest in MLS) since 1998.

For the record, former Fire captain Chris Armas has the most Best XI selections with the club, earning five (1998-2001, 2003) during his 10-year career with the Men in Red.

See below the club's previous MLS Best XI selections:

02 December 9:51 am

Fire Chief Operating Officer Atul Khosla named to Crain's Chicago's 40 Under 40 list

Congratulations to Chicago Fire COO Atul Khosla (AK) for being named a member of Crain's Chicago "40 Under 40" class of 2014. Khosla is joined on the list by Hip Hop artist Lupe Fiasco, “The Onion” founder Mike McAvoy and Mike McGee, no not that Magee, the McGee that co-founded The Starter League.

While the Crain's recognition is an individual honor, AK knows that it is really a team award - literally.

"I'm honored and humbled by the recognition from Crain's. Were it not for the tremendous opportunity provided by the Hauptman family, the Club, its incredible fan base and my front office team, I know my name would not be on the list.

"For me, these past two years have been challenging and extremely rewarding. There's a lot to be proud of, but a lot more work to do. It's the opportunity to work with a young, energized and enthusiastic team, both on and off the field, which really inspires me for what's next."

Another congrats to Heather Holtsberg Smith who also made the list for her work as the Marketing Manager for Quaker Foods North America’s global grains division.

Learn more about AK and all the other members who made this year's 40 under 40 list at http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/40under40-2013

Remember to follow AK on Twitter @AtulKhosla!