Fire Faithful –
I hope this note finds you well and ready for the upcoming 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
As you know, 2012 has been an encouraging year on-and-off the field. Frank Klopas, in his first full season as head coach, has led the team to a 17-11-6 record, our best season in twelve years, while securing a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 12th time in the club’s 15-year history.
The club has continued to invest in the product on the field, and we are proud of each of our players for their commitment and determination, and for understanding what it means to play for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. This year, we brought back Fire-favorite Chris Rolfe, signed two-time World Cup veteran Arne Friedrich, and added two Designated Players - Sherjill MacDonald and Alvaro Fernandez. These moves paid dividends as the Men in Red have gone 12-6-3, with 39 points since June 17 and Rolfe, MacDonald and Fernandez have accounted for 14 goals and 8 assists in the second half of the season.
Off the field, the club has continued to grow and build connectivity across Chicago. In January, the club signed a multi-year partnership with Quaker Oats, an iconic brand with Chicago roots. This and other partnerships we’ve built in 2012 are evident of the growing appeal of soccer in the United States and specifically Chicago. In addition, our youth development program continues to expand, now with over 10,000 youths participating across seven different states.
We have made some notable additions to Toyota Park over the past year, including the introduction of the Second Star Club, our world-class luxury seating experience. We also introduced the Quaker Corner, a visible extension of our partnership with Quaker Oats. We want the atmosphere at Toyota Park to be unrivaled and these improvements allow for us to further engage all our supporters.
It is our goal to make Toyota Park a fortress and your presence in the stands and in the community will go a long way in giving us a true home field advantage. We saw a 15% increase in attendance from 2011 to 2012 breaking an overall MLS regular season attendance record at Toyota Park. This support aided in the Fire’s 11-3-3 record at Toyota Park this season, our best home record since 2000 and best record since moving into Toyota Park in 2006. Your continued support is integral to our success on-and-off-the-field.
As you can see, you are a big part of this club and its future. We continue to work hard to be at the forefront of the soccer conversation in Chicago and across the country. We continue to engage and grow our relationships with the over 650,000 people in the Chicagoland area that play soccer and the over 1.2 million that consume the sport in some way. It is important for you to understand the impact you have on the growth of the club and the sport of soccer. You are an integral part of this club and we value your support and feedback as we work together to make the Fire a premier soccer club in North America, one that embodies the spirit and diversity of our city and our sport.
Your steadfast support of our club and passion for the game continues to inspire me, my family, our players, coaches and staff on a daily basis.
While we are encouraged with our strong season to date, the work does not stop here. We will continue to invest and build upon the strong base that we have established, always with the goal of winning championships.
Thanks again for your support. I look forward to seeing you at Toyota Park for a MLS Cup Playoff game.
Owner, Chicago Fire Soccer Club