Fire continue preparations for 2012 campaign

Team to challenge FGCU prior to preseason international friendly

After eight days of training at the club’s base in Ave Maria, Fla., the Chicago Fire opened the team’s 2012 preseason campaign Sunday, playing to a 0-0 draw with D.C. United in Ft. Myers, Fla. Head coach Frank Klopas utilized 33 different players, changing the entire XI on the field in the 33rd and 61st minutes of play in order to evaluate talent and get a better understanding of player’s abilities a game environment. A recap, highlights and photos from the match are available by visiting Chicago-Fire.com

In conjunction with the Chicago Fire Juniors-Florida, based out of Naples, the Fire will next take on Florida Gulf Coast University Wednesday, February 1, 6:30 p.m. CT at North Park in Ave Maria, Fla. Follow the match LIVE via @ChiFireMatch on Twitter. The side continues to train in Ave Maria through Thursday before departing for New Orleans, La. where the team will visit the Chicago Fire Juniors-Louisiana and play an international friendly match against Honduran side Real C.D. España on Saturday, February 4, 5:00 p.m. CT at Tad Gormley Stadium. 

Following Sunday’s match the team released trialists Jon Okafor, Omar Persad, Walter Restrepo and Open Tryout winner Fabrizio Pittaluga from training camp.

See below the club’s full 2012 preseason schedule.

January 20-February 3:    First Team trains in Ave Maria, Fla.                                  

TRAINING: Chicago Fire First Team -  9:00 a.m. CT – North Park – Ave Maria, Fla.

GAMES:  
Sunday, January 29 – Chicago Fire 0-0 D.C. United – Ft. Myers, Fla. - Florida Gulf Coast University
Wednesday, February 1 – Chicago Fire vs. Florida Gulf Coast University – 6:30 p.m. CT – Ave Maria, Fla. – North Park

February 3-5: First Team trains in New Orleans, La.

GAMES:
Saturday, February 4 - Chicago Fire vs. Real C.D. Espana (HON) – 5:00 p.m. CT – New Orleans, La. - Tad Gormley Stadium  

February 5:  First Team returns to Chicago

February 8-18:  First Team trains in Ventura, Calif.

GAMES:
Saturday, February 11 – Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA – Time & Location: TBD
Wednesday, February 15 – Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers – 1:00 p.m. CT – The Home Depot Center
Saturday, February 18 – Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 1:00 p.m. CT – Ventura, Calif.

February 18: First Team returns to Chicago

February 21-March 5:  First Team trains in Charleston, S.C. as part of 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup

GAMES:
Saturday, February 25 - Chicago Fire vs. DC United – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Wednesday, February 29 – Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Saturday, March 3 – Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery (USL) – 6:15 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium

March 5: First Team returns to Chicago
 

PAPPA AND PUPPO REPORT TO CAMP; ROBAYO AWAITS VISA; TEAM SIGNS RE-ENTRY DRAFT SELECTION DUBE

After going through the visa process, Guatemalan international midfielder Marco Pappa and Uruguayan striker Federico reported to camp last week. A few days behind the rest of the team in fitness, the duo was held out of Sunday’s exhibition vs. DC United but will be available for selection in Wednesday’s match vs. Florida Gulf Coast University in Ave Maria, Fla.

Offseason signing, Rafael Robayo continues to go through the visa process. The Colombian midfielder will join preseason camp upon receipt of his visa.

The club also announced the signing of 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft selection Kheli Dube last Wednesday. Hailing from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Dube, 28, comes to the Fire from the New England Revolution where he tallied 14 goals and nine assists across 72 matches from 2008-11.
 

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2012 CHICAGO FIRE SEASON KICKOFF LUNCHEON

Get your tickets for the 14th annual Chicago Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon which will be held on Monday March 12, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This is the first chance of the season to meet your 2012 Chicago Fire Soccer team! With a reception, lunch and silent auction featuring Chicago Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and more, this is an event you definitely don’t want to miss! The first 20 full paid tables of ten (10) at $800 get to sit with a Fire player or coach. Purchase your tickets today to guarantee your seat for the Luncheon!

Click here to download an order form or here to purchase your tickets online. 
 

FIRE SIGN MULTI-YEAR JERSEY PARTHERSHIP WITH CHICAGO-BASED QUAKER OATS

The Quaker Oats Company, a division of PepsiCo, and The Chicago Fire Soccer Club are kicking off a season of food, fitness and fun for the city’s soccer fans and families. The club named Quaker as the official Breakfast Foods & Nutritious Snacks Partner of the Chicago Fire, and the centerpiece of the partnership is the new 2012 jersey, which prominently features the famed Quaker logo in a powerful yet classic design. This is only the Fire’s second jersey sponsor in the club’s 15-year history.

Throughout the partnership, Quaker and the Chicago Fire will team up to reach thousands of families, on-and-off-the-field and demonstrate the importance of eating right and staying fit. As part of this shared commitment, Quaker will provide the Chicago Fire players with nourishing breakfasts and snacks to help them fuel their performance throughout the season. 

“It’s an honor to partner with a trusted Chicago-based brand like Quaker Oats that shares the same sense of community as the Chicago Fire,” said Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman. “As a sports team, we know the importance of staying active, eating right and hope to inspire others to do the same. Our players are incredibly proud to don the Quaker name as they hit the field during the 2012 season.”

For more than 134 years Quaker has had a longstanding tradition of keeping families happy and healthy both nationally and locally in Chicago.

“Quaker Oats has been providing nourishing breakfasts and snacks to families for more than a century. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to promoting a healthy, active lifestyle,” said Jose Luis Prado, President, Quaker Foods and Snacks North America. “We are excited to work with the Chicago Fire to make a positive impact in the community and across the country.”

Click here for more information on the Chicago Fire/Quaker partnership.
 

2012 SEASON TICKET HOLDERS ENTERED TO WIN FREE PRESEASON TRIP TO CHARLESTON, S.C.

All Chicago Fire Season Ticket Holders that have newly bought or renewed their seats for 2012 by Feb. 3 are eligible to be chosen for a trip for two to see the team in its final preseason match vs. the Charleston Battery as part of the Carolina Challenge Cup, Saturday, March 3 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.

Season Ticket Holders will receive one entry for every full 2012 Season Ticket purchased, with the Fire providing round-trip airfare for two, one night hotel stay and match tickets to the preseason clash.

Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473) or by visiting www.ourcityourclub.com.
 

FIRE TO OPEN UP 2012 MLS CAMPAIGN MARCH 17 AT EXPANSION MONTREAL, HOST OPENING DAY MARCH 24 AGAINST PHILADELPHIA UNION

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club, in conjunction with Major League Soccer and its national television partners, unveiled the 2012 regular season schedule Thursday. The Fire are slated to appear in a total of 13 nationally televised broadcasts throughout its 15th season of MLS play. The Fire kick off the 2012 MLS campaign with a visit to the expansion Montreal Impact in the club’s first home match Saturday, March 17 at Olympic Stadium (2:00 PM CT). The Fire’s full schedule can be seen at Chicago-Fire.com/schedule.

The Fire host Opening Day at Toyota Park against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM CT. Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.

For more information on the club’s 2012 MLS Regular Season schedule, click here.
 

FIRE IN THE NEWS

Chicago Fire, DC United play to scoreless draw to capacity crowd at FGCU – Ron Lee, Jr. – Naples Daily News – Jan. 29, 2012

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/jan/29/soccer-chicago-fire-dc-united-play-scoreless-to

Fire shaping up well for Klopas – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – Jan. 26, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/newspaper/sports/ct-spt-0127-fire-chicago--20120127,0,5123144.story  

Frank Klopas needs Fire’s core to keep it together – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times – Jan. 26, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/newspaper/sports/ct-spt-0127-fire-chicago--20120127,0,5123144.story

CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM

Preseason Deadlock: Fire 0, DC United 0 – Jan. 29, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/01/preseason-deadlock

All-In Podcast with Gonzalo Segares – Jan. 26, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/podcast/all-gonzalo-segares

Twice a Fire rival, Dube officially signs – Jan. 25, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/01/striker-kheli-dube-signs

What’s in a name with Hunter Jumper – Jan. 24, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/01/whats-name 

Pappa joins team in Florida – Jan. 24, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/01/pappa-joins-team-florida