Fire host meet and greet for fans


Fire host meet and greet for fans

The Chicago Fire hosted a meet and greet event for season ticket holders at the PrivateBank Fire Pitch on Monday night.

The event gave Fire fans a chance to talk to players from the team, all of which were in attendance, and get autographs.

"We love the fact that we can get our season ticket holders the benefit of meeting our entire team as the season is just started," Fire COO Atul Khosla said. "It’s just a fantastic opportunity for them to meet all the players, all the coaches, take pictures, but we love the fact they get that one-on-one interaction with the players. That’s a bond they form and when I talk to season ticket holders this is one of their favorite events.”

The annual event had previously been held outside at Toyota Park, which meant it had to be held later in the year. With the Fire Pitch now open, this meant it could be held indoors and earlier in the season, avoiding nasty early spring weather in Chicago.

[MORE: Fire notes: Rumors, David Accam update, Johan Kappelhof honored]

Players sat down at booths and had fans line up for autographs and photos. Coach Veljko Paunovic stood behind draped in a Fire scarf, chatted with fans and gave high-fives to kids. David Accam kicked a ball around with a couple little kids, who were probably too young to know who he was, but had fun all the same. Foosball and FIFA games were also a part of the night.

“The fans braved the weather on Saturday to watch the players so this is kind of nice to be in the dome, a little bit away from the weather," Khosla said. "Especially with a lot of the new guys who they haven’t met yet and haven’t seen them around. For players as well just talking to them they are excited to do this because this is what it takes to build a fan base for the long-term and give back to the fans that give us so much all year round.”

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?


Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.