The Chicago Fire Soccer Club was the recipient of the 2018 Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Team of the Year honor at the year-end MLS Club and Executive Awards ceremony, held Thursday evening in Chicago.
Accepted by Vice President of Community Relations and Chicago Fire Foundation Executive Director Jessica Yavitz, the award comes on the heels of another landmark year for the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Once again headlining the Chicago Fire Foundation's robust community-based programming in 2018 was its signature P.L.A.Y.S. Program. Established in 2013, P.L.A.Y.S. has used soccer to help improve academic performance and develop social and emotional learning among at-risk Chicago Public School students.
“All of us at the Fire believe in serving our community and using the power of soccer to improve the lives of young people in Chicagoland,” said Chicago Fire Owner and Chairman Andrew Hauptman. “Our Club is extremely thankful to all who supported the efforts of the Chicago Fire Foundation to further our mission in 2018. The Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Team of the Year award is an achievement we all share in and it will motivate us to work even harder and have an even greater impact in the year ahead.”
Additionally, in 2018 the Chicago Fire Foundation served as a co-host for the Special Olympics Unified Cup in Chicago, took inaugural steps in the ambitious "It's Everyone's Game" mini-pitch project, and hosted a number of philanthropic events to support its award-winning P.L.A.Y.S. Program.
Last October, the P.L.A.Y.S. Program was recognized with the Community Award at the Leaders Sports Awards in London, rising to the top among community initiative submissions from 15 countries. The Fire has previously received the 2016 Beyond Sport Team of the Year Award, as well as the 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Team of the Year Award, in recognition of the group's outstanding charitable programming efforts. The Club also was a finalist for ESPN’s 2018 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award.
More information on the Chicago Fire Foundation is available at Chicago-Fire.com/community.