CHICAGO (September 27, 2017) – Chicago Fire Soccer Club owner and chairman, Andrew Hauptman, and former Fire forward, Brian McBride, will be among those recognized by the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame during the organization’s “Celebration of Champions” Induction Ceremony at Wintrust Arena on Monday, October 2. Hauptman will be inducted and honored as the Sports Advocate of the Year, while McBride will be inducted for his stellar playing career.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, and I accept this honor on behalf of our team, staff, and all the supporters of the Fire,” said Hauptman. “We all take immense pride in serving and representing this great city and that commitment to our community is key to everything we do. It’s particularly special to be sharing this recognition alongside my good friends, Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts, and Fire great, Brian McBride.”
Since acquiring the Fire in 2007, Hauptman has been an active proponent for the growth of soccer across Chicago. His selection as Chicago Sports Advocate of the Year comes after leading a successful bid to bring the 2017 MLS All-Star Game to Chicago’s Soldier Field. That match drew the largest crowd for a soccer game at the renovated facility with 61,428 in attendance, while thousands more participated in events hosted by the Fire and MLS leading up to the summer showcase. Under Hauptman’s ownership, the Fire have built an expansive, year-round soccer ecosystem across Chicago with community outreach and programming 365 days a year, increasing the engagement with and visibility of the sport throughout the region. As part of these efforts, Hauptman also unveiled the CIBC Fire Pitch (formerly The PrivateBank Fire Pitch), a year-round soccer facility that serves as a hub to youth and adult soccer programs, and hosts more than 250,000 visitors annually.
Hauptman has emphasized and dramatically expanded the Fire’s community and philanthropic efforts, working to grow the nationally and globally recognized Chicago Fire Foundation and its cornerstone program, P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth Soccer). An initiative committed to enhancing the academic performance and development of social and emotional skills, P.L.A.Y.S. is now in 20 Chicago public schools. In addition to the club’s most recent recognition as 2017 Corporate Citizen of the Year by the Executives’ Club of Chicago for its outstanding community efforts, the organization has also been honored as the 2016 Beyond Sport Team of the Year, the 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Sport Team of the Year, and is a Chicago Charity Challenge Award Winner three years running.
McBride is one of the most decorated players in American soccer history. The Buffalo Grove High School graduate is the fourth-leading scorer in United States Men’s National Team history with 30 goals in 95 appearances. He represented the United States at three FIFA World Cups – 1998, 2002, and 2006 – scoring in two of them. He also captained the American Olympic soccer team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His professional career included stints with several international and domestic leagues, including five seasons with Fulham FC and three with the Chicago Fire. McBride scored 18 goals and had seven assists with Chicago, and was also named to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.
“I am sincerely honored to be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame,” said McBride. “Since growing up as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears, Bulls, and Sting, as well as a fan of the White Sox (not a hater), I always knew Chicago was and is the best city in the world to be a sports fan. It was always a dream of mine to play professional sports in this great city. The Chicago Fire gave me that opportunity and I am forever grateful to my friend and Fire owner Andrew Hauptman for allowing me to realize that dream. Lastly, this recognition wouldn’t be possible without the support of my wife, kids, family, teammates, coaches and all the staff. Thank you to all.”
In addition to McBride, the inductees list includes: former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, former Chicago Sky and WNBA MVP Cappie Pondexter, three-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Toews, Special Olympics speed skater Tommy Shimoda, and broadcasting icons Hawk Harrelson, Ivan Kurkovic, and Kenny McReynolds.
Additionally, Chicago Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts, will be honored as Sports Owner of the Year, while University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma will be honored with the Ray Meyer Award, and former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown will receive the Gale Sayers Award.
FOX News sports anchor Corey McPherrin returns as emcee of the induction dinner. The event benefits the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Charities, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization in Illinois honoring those who have distinguished themselves through their contribution to sports. Individual tickets are $200 each and tables of ten are available. VIP cocktails are from 5:30-6:30PM with dinner and induction starting at 7PM on Monday, October 2nd at Wintrust Arena 200 E. Cermak Ave, Chicago, 60616.
Proceeds from the event support World Sport Chicago, an independent non-profit organization that supports resiliency and strengthens community by increasing access to youth sport; the Chicago Sports Commission, an organization designed to recruit and support high-profile sporting events that generate economic impact and exposure for the City of Chicago; and Father John Smyth's Standing Tall Foundation, which provides resources and opportunities for homeless, undeserved and at-risk youth to develop and establish a safe, secure and productive lifestyle.