The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today that it will host the first-ever Chicago Sister Cities International Cup on Wednesday, May 19 and Saturday, May 22 at TOYOTA PARK. Joining the Fire for the two-day, four-team international tournament are Legia Warsaw of Warsaw, Poland, Paris Saint-Germain of Paris, France and Red Star Belgrade of Belgrade, Serbia.
The Fire and Chicago Sister Cities International have partnered to bring top-flight international soccer to TOYOTA PARK for a two-day tournament that will feature premier clubs from three of Chicago’s sister cities. Chicago has proven itself to be one of the great cities in the world with one of the most fervent soccer markets in the United States and will make for an excellent backdrop to this international tournament featuring the Fire and three world-renowned clubs.
“The Chicago Fire are proud to host the inaugural Chicago Sister Cities International Cup,” said Fire President Dave Greeley. “The Fire’s continued commitment to growing the game of soccer in the Chicagoland area along with the vibrant cultural communities that surround the Windy City will serve as the ideal setting for a four-team, two-day tournament highlighting soccer at its highest level.”
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley praised the Chicago Fire for their leadership in creating this tournament and bringing together three of Chicago’s sister cities to TOYOTA PARK to help elevate the city’s profile through the world’s game.
“Chicago is a diverse and welcoming city that is passionate about sports. We look forward to welcoming teams from our Sister Cities of Belgrade, Paris and Warsaw for the Chicago Sister Cities International Cup,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “These types of events play an important role in showcasing our city’s diversity and further demonstrate our reputation as an international sports city.”
One of the most successful club’s in Polish soccer history, Legia Warsaw has won a total of eight league championships and 13 Polish Cups. The Polish side was founded in 1916 as the soccer club of the Polish Legions and after World War I, became the main soccer team of the Polish Army. The Legioniści ("Legioniers") will return to Chicago for the fourth time, previously appearing in 1959, 1969 and 1999. The Fire defeated Legia 3-2 in June of 1999 with two former Legia players, Jerzy Podbrożny and Roman Kosecki, suiting up for the “Men in Red”.
“A visit to Chicago will be great opportunity to promote our Football Club,” said Legia Warsaw President Leszek Miklas. “A number of European teams have gone to the United States to play international friendly matches and we did not hesitate to accept the Fire’s invitation. We hope that Legia Warszawa will become even more popular in the U.S. and that we will gain additional supporters during our stay in Chicago.”
Famed Parisian club Paris Saint-Germain, one of the most decorated outfits in French soccer, has won two Ligue 1 titles, seven Coupes de France, a record three Coupes de la Ligue and two Trophées des Champions. In addition to their domestic triumphs, PSG won the 1996 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Les Parisiens feature French World Cup finalist and Champions League winner (Real Madrid) midfielder Claude Makélélé along with former Barcelona striker Ludovic Giuly and former France national team goalkeeper Grégory Coupet.
“Paris Saint-Germain Football Club is delighted to participate in its first soccer tournament in the United States. PSG is privileged and honored to represent the City of Paris in the Chicago Sister Cities International Cup,” said Paris Saint-Germain President Robin Leproux. “We expect that our participation in this tournament will improve PSG’s recognition in North America and increase our US fan base. We are looking forward to the support of the large French community living in the Chicago area for our games at Toyota Park.”
Rounding out the four-team International Cup is Serbian club Red Star Belgrade. The popular Serbian side won the 1991 Champions League on penalty kicks to become only the second Eastern European club to take home the European Cup, after Steaua Bucharest of Romania. Red Star has reached 25 national championships in its 65-year history.
“We are very excited to play in Chicago and have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Chicago Fire,” said Red Star Belgrade President Vladan Lukić. “For Red Star it is a great honor to participate in this International Friendly Tournament. We believe that we shall encounter many Serb Red Star supporters cheering for us at TOYOTA PARK. We are sure that the local support will make Chicago feel like home.”
Tickets to the Chicago Sister Cities International Cup go on sale Saturday, April 10 at 10:00 AM CT. Fans can purchase tickets through the Club’s official website at www.chicago-fire.com or by calling the Chicago Fire at 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473). Tickets are also available via Ticketmaster.
The Chicago Sister Cities International Cup will be included in all Chicago Fire Season Ticket Holder packages.
The Chicago Fire match against the Colorado Rapids scheduled for Saturday, May 22 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 9 at 8:00 PM CT. The May 22nd ticket is valid and will be accepted for admission on Wednesday, June 9.
Chicago Sister Cities International Cup Schedule
Wednesday, May 19
Chicago Fire vs. Paris Saint-Germain 7:00 PM CT TOYOTA PARK
Legia Warsaw vs. Red Star Belgrade Immediately Following TOYOTA PARK
Saturday, May 22
Consolation (losing teams from 5/19) 6:00 PM CT TOYOTA PARK
Championship (winning teams from 5/19) Immediately Following TOYOTA PARK