Weekly Notes

Fire shift preseason camp to Charleston

FIRE HEAD TO CHARLESTON, S.C. AS FINAL PHASE OF PRESEASON CAMP BEGINS

The Chicago Fire shift its preseason camp to Charleston, S.C. on Wednesday, March 2, where the club will train for roughly two weeks and play three matches in the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Fire take on Toronto FC on Saturday, March 5 at 4 PM CT, before matching up against D.C. United March 9 and closing out the tournament against host club Charleston Battery March 12. In addition, the club will scrimmage with UNC Greensboro on Sunday, March 6 at Charleston Southern University at noon CT.

The Men in Red returned to Chicago late Saturday evening having completed the Florida phase of the club’s 2011 preseason camp. The first two stages of preseason have served valuable as Carlos de los Cobos and the Fire Technical staff had the opportunity to evaluate talent and build camaraderie amongst the new-look Fire squad before the club begins its 2011 MLS campaign on first kick weekend against Brimstone Cup rivals FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 PM CT (TeleFutura).

The Fire fared well in its first preseason tests against MLS opponents, matching the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez in a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls in Fort Lauderdale. Trialing striker Orr Barouch impressed in the reserve match, scoring four goals in a 4-2 victory against the Red Bulls to start the day. De los Cobos’ side continued its progression toward MLS league action in an evenly matched contest against Seattle Sounders FC to close the trip. The 120 minute scrimmage featured 26 players and was deadlocked at 0-0 until Sounders FC trialist Servando Carrasco snuck a goal past Fire trialist Alec Dufty to steal the scrimmage 1-0.

The Fire released MLS SuperDraft selection Jason Herrick and trialists Shane Clark, Nabil Taider and Kwame Obeng Darko – who was only in Fire camp for the double header on Wednesday. The club currently has 31 players in camp, including 21 signed players, one unsigned draft pick (Davis Paul) and nine foreign and domestic trialists.

CHICAGO FIRE WEEKLY TRAINING SCHEDULE: February 28 – March 6

Chicago Fire players and coaches will be made available to media at Charleston Southern University (9200 University Blvd., Charleston, SC 29406) following each training session during double-days this week. Media are able to begin conducting interviews after training, which runs approximately two hours. (All times Eastern)

Tuesday, March 1: OFF

Wednesday, March 2: Travel to Charleston -  Training 5:00 – 6:00 PM – OPEN TO MEDIA*^

Thursday, March 3: Training 9 AM / 4 PM – OPEN TO MEDIA*^

Friday, March 4: Training 10 AM – OPEN TO MEDIA*^

Saturday, March 5: Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC – Blackbaud Stadium – 5 PM*

Sunday, March 6: Chicago Fire vs. UNC Greensboro – Charleston Southern – 1 PM*

 *Training is open to the media. Fire players and coaches will be made available immediately following training, which runs approximately two hours.

^Training times are subject to change. Please contact Brendan Hannan at 708.496.6725 for media requests.

CHICAGO FIRE TO HOST DEFENDING MLS CUP CHAMPS IN LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP QUALIFYING

The Chicago Fire won a coin flip with the Colorado Rapids for the right to host the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifying. The Fire will coordinate with the reigning MLS Cup Champion Rapids to determine the date, time and location of the match, which will be played sometime before the end of April.

TICKETS AND TABLES STILL AVAILABLE FOR CHICAGO FIRE SEASON KICKOFF LUNCHEON

The Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, will hold the 13th annual Chicago Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon presented by Ticketmaster on Monday, March 14 at 11 AM CT at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr. Chicago IL 60601). Renowned Chicago meteorologist Amy Freeze will serve as the emcee for the annual event.

Tickets for the 2011 Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon start at just $75 a person and $700 for a table. The first 20 full paid tables get the opportunity to sit with a Fire player. Tickets are available by calling 708-496-6740 or by heading to Chicago-Fire.com.

The annual event, which supports the Chicago Fire Foundation, offers Fire supporters the first opportunity to meet the 2011 Chicago Fire team and raise funds in the name of charity. In addition to interacting with Fire players, coaches and technical staff, the event includes a reception, formal lunch and silent auction, where attendees can bid on Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates, player worn gear and much more. All proceeds benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation.