New Chicago Fire Season Ticket Holder Ray Lass is a relative newbie to the game of soccer, though his knowledge of the game has grown a lot since the summer.
Lass is the winner of the most recent Lunch with the Fire contest, in which season ticket holders that renew or purchase for 2011 are entered to win lunch with a Fire player or front office staff. Lass, whose first Fire game was on September 4 vs. LA, was the lucky winner and will be joined by his girlfriend Stephanie for lunch with rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
“I kind of rode the wave of the World Cup and the U.S. performance this summer,” said Lass via phone on Tuesday. “When that was over I started watching locally and went to the game against the Galaxy. We just had a blast that day. The experience, the people, the park atmosphere – the whole thing was just phenomenal.”
Not too long after that match, Lass went online and checked out the club’s new All-In for 2011 Season Tickets and Benefits plan. His experience over Labor Day weekend and the 2011 incentives were what put him over the edge, purchasing two Premier Season Tickets for 2011.
“The monthly payment plan was the one thing that really sparked my interest. That was something that I’d never seen before – certainly not in the city. I price season tickets for the Blackhawks and different teams in the area, but that one and the free parking passes – those are incentives that really pay for themselves.”
Though a more recent fan, Lass has followed the team rather closely since really finding the game over the summer and although the team hasn’t had the greatest season, the North Aurora native thinks there’s reason to be optimistic for 2011.
“I think the team over the last few games is actually playing really well. They’re starting to get their groove a little bit with Ljungberg and having Pappa back from injury. It seems like they’re gelling quite nicely. It’s too bad they kind of had a slow patch there, but I think they’ve looked pretty good in their last few games. I’m really looking forward to next year – I think it’s going to be a great season.”
As for lunch, Lass plans on asking on asking Johnson about the pressures of being thrown into the starting role at such a young age.
“I’m excited for lunch. I’m interested to see what kind of influences Sean had growing up. I know he didn’t start playing soccer as a kid but kind of came into it later during his teenage years. I’m really interested to see how it’s all progressed and how he’s handled being rushed into the spotlight.”
The lunch will also be a special treat for Lass’ girlfriend Stephanie, who counts Sean Johnson as her favorite player.
“She loves Sean Johnson,” he said. “It works out perfectly. She was so happy when I told her she couldn’t believe it – just kept saying, ‘Really? Really?’”
The next Lunch with the Fire contest winner will be sitting down with new Fire President Julian Posada! Purchase or renew your 2011 Season Tickets by the end of Saturday’s home finale vs. DC United and be entered to win lunch with the new Fire President!
Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.