CHICAGO, IL (Feb. 14, 2012) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Tuesday that former Fire defender and Fire Original C.J. Brown will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame, known as the Ring of Fire, during halftime of the team’s match against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, May 9 at Toyota Park.
“C.J. Brown played his entire MLS career with the Men in Red and is deserving of the Ring of Fire recognition. His longevity, commitment and passion for our club make him a standout among Fire players,” said Javier Leon, Managing Director of Andell Sports Group. “C.J. led by example, brought grit and toughness to the field and did things the right way off the pitch. We’re happy to honor his career with an induction into the Ring of Fire.”
Having brought to end a 13-year career following the 2010 MLS campaign, Brown holds the club record for most MLS regular season appearances (296), MLS Cup playoff appearances (35) and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances (25). Serving as Fire captain from 2008-09, Brown’s 372 appearances across all competitions are also a club record and rank him third all-time behind only Jaime Moreno (415) and Cobi Jones (392) for most competitive games played for one MLS club. Brown joins current Ring of Fire member Chris Armas and recently retired goalkeeper Zach Thornton as the only three players to be a part of all six of the club’s domestic championships.
“When Javier called me to discuss the Ring of Fire and the possibility of C.J.’s induction, I was extremely supportive,” said former Fire captain and Ring of Fire member Chris Armas. “It’s great that the Fire continue to preserve and connect with the tradition and history at our club. Every time I stepped on the field, I knew C.J. had my back. C.J. was a tremendous soccer player and he had great character and class. He was humble, unselfish and a pit bull of a defender all at the same time. C.J. led by example, rather than words, and he is the model for what we want Chicago Fire players and people to be like.”
Brown joins fellow Ring of Fire inductees: former Fire captain Peter Nowak, former Fire defender Lubos Kubik, former Fire forward and current head coach Frank Klopas, the Fire’s first General Manager Peter Wilt, former Fire head coach Bob Bradley and former Fire midfielder Armas in the club’s Ring of Fire.
Tickets for Brown’s Ring of Fire induction can be purchased here.
Brown came to the Fire as the first overall selection in the 1998 MLS Supplemental Draft. The San Jose State product quickly entrenched himself in the Fire starting XI during the club’s inaugural season, appearing in 37 of the team’s 41 competitive matches while helping the side to a still unprecedented “Domestic Double”, winning the 1998 MLS and U.S. Open Cup championships.
Through the preceding 12 seasons, Brown helped lead the team to four more domestic titles – the 2000, 2003 and 2006 U.S. Open Cups and 2003 MLS Supporters Shield – as well as four more finals – the 2000 and 2003 MLS Cup, 2004 U.S. Open Cup and 2009 SuperLiga.
Brown was also a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, appearing in 15 matches from 1998-2003 and was a member of the U.S side that finished third at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Currently an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake, Brown resides in Utah with wife Kim and daughters Canessa and Kali.