On a rainy October 8, 2009, a large group of Fire supporters, team figures, players, and fans gathered at Toyota Park to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Ring of Fire member and Technical Director Frank Klopas welcomed us with kind words, entertaining stories, and an amazing spread of food. Speeches left many in the crowd with moist eyes and inspired us as we gathered to celebrate the day our club was announced on October 8, 1997 on Navy Pier. Many other great anecdotes were shared between those in attendance and we were always able to turn to a game of foosball or a peek at classic Fire matches that played on loop on the televisions around the Stadium Club.
That intimate yet special party is set to be revisited this year as the anniversary of the club's founding looms once again. This year, we're fortunate to be graced with an exciting weekend of soccer in the Chicago area that dovetails with the anniversary celebrations. Not only are the Fire taking on Columbus on the anniversary proper – due to a special request made to the league – but the US National team will be in town to face Poland in a friendly match the following Saturday. It has been a while since so many fans of the game in Chicago will have had such a full calendar of events from which to partake.
Section 8 Chicago's plans are in full swing for the 10/8 party, of course. There will be a special gathering at Chicago's newest soccer bar, The Pitch, on the eve of the anniversary. The day itself will bring an extended tailgate starting at 2pm (food provided once again by Klopas). We’re planning a supporters' match open to all Fire fans on the practice field, other parking lot games, contests, and plenty of Fire comradeship all ahead of the match between the Fire & Crew. Join us early, it’ll be more than worth taking the afternoon off work for!
Saturday will bring a brunch gathering at the Pitch ahead of beer bus rides to the USA/Poland match at Soldier Field. Given the timing of so many US Soccer and Fire alumni being in the city at the same time, you'll never know what luminaries might turn up at one or all of these events! A limited edition commemorative gift has been produced by Section 8 Chicago, as well, which you can collect if you get to the tailgate early on 10/8 itself (first 100 folks!).
Stay tuned to www.section8chicago.com for the full announcement of the slate of events for this special date. Let's grow the party into something that all Fire fans look forward to every October 8, and continue to cement the bonds of our club with Tradition, Honor, and Passion.