Fan voting launches Friday for 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game

Six Fire players selected for 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan Ballot

Major League Soccer announced today the six Chicago Fire players that have been voted onto the fan ballot for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star game against UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea Football Club on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Penn.

The Men in Red are represented on the fan ballot by goalkeeper Sean Johnson, defender Gonzalo Segares, midfielders Sebastian Grazzini, Marco Pappa and Pavel Pardo, and forward Dominic Oduro.

Pappa is the only Fire player on this year’s ballot with previous All-Star game experience, having represented the Fire in 2010 when the MLS All-Stars hosted Manchester United at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Pappa started and played the entire first half as the MLS All-Stars fell 5-2 in front of a record crowd of 70,728 fans.

A panel of media members nominated a total of 114 players, the top six per team, to the fan ballot. Fan voting will begin on Friday, June 8 at 11 p.m. CT at www.MLSsoccer.com and via text messaging. Fans can vote by sending a players first and last name via text message to 22442. Twitter voting will occur later this month.

The players with the highest combined votes from these three voting methods will become the first 11 All-Stars – known as the All-Star First XI. The player who receives the most text votes by 4 p.m. CT on Monday, July 2 will automatically earn a spot among the All-Star First XI.

All-Star Head Coach Peter Nowak of the Philadelphia Union will choose the gameday roster and the starting lineup against Chelsea FC on July 25. The first marquee MLS event ever to be held at PPL Park in Chester, Penn., will be broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 7:30 p.m. CT.

A total of 32 All-Stars are named each year, per the collective bargaining agreement. Media, fans, players, the All-Star coach and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all contribute in the All-Star selection process.

The 32 players named 2012 AT&T MLS All-Stars will be selected in four phases:

1)    Ballot creation: A select media panel determined the field of players – six players per team – who are most deserving of consideration for this year’s All-Star Game. Those 114 players are eligible for fan voting.

2)    Fan voting: Through July 2 at 4 p.m. CT, fans will select the “First XI” All-Stars. Fans can vote via any of three digital platforms:

a.    At MLSsoccer.com: Vote for your starting lineup of 11 players, beginning June 8.

b.    Via text message (SMS): Text an MLS player’s first and last name to 22442.

§ Each vote will count equally with those submitted online in determining the First XI.

§ The player who receives the most text votes will automatically earn a spot among the First XI.

§ Message and data rates may apply.

c.    Twitter: Details of Twitter voting will be released in the near future.

The First XI will be announced on Sunday, July 8, on ESPN during halftime of the Chicago Fire-LA Galaxy  game that begins at 2 p.m. CT.

3)    Team selection: The MLS All-Star head coach will select the gameday roster from the pool of eligible players, consisting of the First XI as determined by the fans, MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s two selections and players who received votes from at least two players.

The Commissioner selections and gameday roster will be announced on Sunday, July 15 on ESPN during halftime of the New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC game that begins at 3 p.m. CT.

4)    Player selections: MLS players will determine the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the CBA (known as the “inactive roster”).

The final list of 32 All-Stars (4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders and 7 forwards) will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on July 25.