Fire unveil new primary kit with Valspar as sponsor


Fire unveil new primary kit with Valspar as sponsor

The Fire unveiled the club’s new primary kit to fans at an event on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The event, which took place at Centerpoint in Chicago, was open to fans and had a number of familiar faces from the club in attendance. The new kit, which has Valspar as the new sponsor, is a change back to the old horizontal white stripe in the center of the jersey.

“The jersey is magnificent, it hearkens back to our roots with the white band across the front,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said. “Valspar is part of the Chicago community and I think that’s what makes the alignment so special.”

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A number of Fire players, including Harry Shipp, David Accam and rookie Jonathan Campbell, were in attendance and worked with fans to paint a banner to be unveiled for the season opener March 6 against New York City FC. The players like the new jersey design.

“Going back to the red and white is what I remember when I was growing up watching the Fire,” Shipp said. “Any time you get to mingle with fans, especially we just started preseason, it’s awesome. You feel the energy of the supporters and got to paint a sign, which was pretty cool.”

First-year Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said the new kit can bring the team fresh energy, which the club needs right now. Part of that new energy comes from the sponsor, Valspar. Being a paint manufacturer, Valspar felt the partnership for events like this was natural.

“They’re in our backyard and we really wanted to do something special,” said Joel Wasserman, who is the general manager of Devine Color and Director of Brand Integration at Valspar. “As we started to talk about soccer we talked about the power of color and the passion that people have for color as well as the passion people have for soccer and brought those two things together in this relationship.”

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai


Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning


Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof was involved in a car accident on his way to practice Thursday morning that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to authorities and the Secretary of State’s Office, a box truck crashed into the Dutch player’s 2013 Volkswagen and another vehicle in the 5900 block of South Harlem. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over and two people fled from the scene.

The driver ran on foot and the passenger moved into the driver’s seat before driving the truck onto the Stevenson Expressway after the crash, officials said. After the damaged vehicle broke down, police say the same passenger tried to jump into the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Both were taken into custody.

Team officials said Kappelhof was treated and released from the hospital without indicators of a concussion. The 27-year-old was reportedly seen at Toyota Park after the crash and did not have any serious injuries. The other driver who was hit by the box truck was also treated, police said.

This season in league play with the Fire, Kappelhof has three assists in 16 games. The international product was a 2017 MLS All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the Fire last season. He was signed in 2016 and has made one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.