Chicago Fire Soccer Club

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Chicago Fire
Chicago Fire Soccer Club.svg
  • Men in Red
FoundedOctober 8, 1997; 22 years ago (1997-10-08)
StadiumSoldier Field
Chicago, Illinois
ChairmanJoe Mansueto
Head coachVeljko Paunović
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2019Eastern Conference: 8th
Overall: 17th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The Chicago Fire is an American professional soccer club based in Chicago, Illinois. The team competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference, having moved to the conference in 2002.

The franchise is named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and was founded on October 8, 1997, the event's 126th anniversary. The team began play in 1998 as one of the league's first expansion teams. The Fire won the MLS Cup as well as the U.S. Open Cup (the "double") in their first season. They also won U.S. Open Cups in 2000, 2003, and 2006, in addition to the 2003 MLS Supporters' Shield. In 2015, the club won the first ever MLS Wooden Spoon, and repeated the feat in 2016.

The Fire maintains an extensive development system, consisting of the Chicago Fire Development Academy and the Chicago Fire Juniors youth organization. They also operate the Chicago Fire Foundation, the team's community-based charitable division. Soldier Field is the Fire's home stadium.



Founded on October 8, 1997,[1] the Fire were originally based at Soldier Field. Since 2006, the club plays at their own stadium, SeatGeek Stadium at 71st and Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview. The owners of the Fire are Andell Holdings, who purchased the club in 2007. Andell Holdings chairman Andrew Hauptman acts as club chairman, while the general manager is Nelson Rodriguez and the chief operating officer is Atul Khosla. The Fire are historically most successful in the U.S. Open Cup; winning championships in 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006. The Fire keep a close connection with the Chicago Sting, its predecessor team in the NASL, by holding frequent commemorative events and reunions, and wearing Sting-inspired shirts.

Many notable players have worn the Fire shirt, including U.S. internationals Chris Armas, Carlos Bocanegra, Frank Klopas, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride, Tony Sanneh, Cory Gibbs, Ante Razov, Josh Wolff and Eric Wynalda. Some of the club's other notable American professional players include C.J. Brown, Jesse Marsch, Chris Rolfe, and Zach Thornton. The Fire also have a reputation for importing international talent, from established veterans like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Pável Pardo, Piotr Nowak, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Tomasz Frankowski, Lubos Kubik and Hristo Stoichkov; in addition to younger players such as Patrick Nyarko, Marco Pappa, Damani Ralph, Bakary Soumaré and Nery Castillo.

The Chicago Fire are named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Foundation and initial success (1997–2000)[edit]

The Fire (in red) at home to the Dallas Burn in July 1998

Founded in 1997 at Navy Pier, on the anniversary of the Great Fire, the Fire immediately tapped into the diverse ethnic makeup of the city. The team brought in Polish players Piotr Nowak, Jerzy Podbrozny, and Roman Kosecki; the Mexican Jorge Campos; and the Czech Lubos Kubik. While all showed their talent while playing for Chicago that first year, American players (Zach Thornton, Chris Armas, C.J. Brown) proved most integral to the Fire's continued success. Under the club's first head coach, Bob Bradley—and against all expectation—the team completed the double in its first competitive year, beating D.C. United in the 1998 MLS Cup Final, and defeating the Columbus Crew in Chicago to win the 1998 U.S. Open Cup a week later.

The team's momentum continued, reaching the 2000 MLS Cup final (losing to Kansas City) and winning the 2000 U.S. Open Cup. Internationally experienced players such as Hristo Stoitchkov joined the Fire, while young American talents such as DaMarcus Beasley developed. The Fire quickly became cemented as one of the league's preeminent teams.

Nomadic times (2002–2004)[edit]

With Soldier Field undergoing massive renovations, the Fire moved to the western Chicago suburb of Naperville in 2002. That same year, Bob Bradley abruptly departed the team to lead the MetroStars, from his home state of New Jersey. The Fire then selected the U.S. men's national team's top assistant, Dave Sarachan, to assume the vacant post.

Chicago qualified for the league final while also capturing the Supporters' Shield and 2003 U.S. Open Cup along the way. The team returned to Chicago and the renovated Soldier Field midway through the 2003 season.

After that season, longtime captain Piotr Nowak retired to take a position in the front office. He departed a year later to become manager of D.C. United. In this period new talent emerged, including Jamaican striker Damani Ralph. Still, stagnating performances and the building strength of the Eastern Conference made Chicago's league position ever more tenuous. In 2004, the team missed the league playoffs for the first time in their history.

Turmoil, and a permanent home (2005–2007)[edit]

The 2005 season began with the unexpected dismissal of popular club president Peter Wilt by then-owners AEG, a move decried by fans, many players, and club staff.[2] This came as a shock, given his brokering of a $100m deal to build the Fire a stadium in the collar suburb of Bridgeview. He was immediately replaced by MetroStars executive John Guppy.

Competitively, the season was most notable for the blockbuster visit of Milan from Italy's Serie A, and the surprising 4–0 away defeat of D.C. United in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

2006 arrived, and the Fire moved from Soldier Field into its new stadium in Bridgeview, a southwest suburb of Chicago: Toyota Park, located at the corner of 71st Street and Harlem Avenue. In its first season, it played host to an unspectacular league campaign; but victory in the 2006 U.S. Open Cup marked a continuation of the club's successes and promise for the future.

The anxiety to win another league title continued to grow, however. Sarachan entered 2007 (his fifth season in charge) under intense pressure from fans and the administration to produce a league championship. Tension mounted further on April 3, 2007, when the Fire signed Mexico and América star Cuauhtémoc Blanco to a Designated Player contract. After a perfect three matches to open the year, they won only one of their next eight, and Sarachan was dismissed. Following a brief search, Millonarios manager Juan Carlos Osorio was named the club's third head coach.

New ownership (2007–2009)[edit]

A home game at Toyota Park in 2007

More change came soon afterward. On September 6, 2007, Andell Holdings, a Los Angeles-based private investment firm controlled by chairman Andrew Hauptman, acquired AEG's interest in the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Reports estimated the purchase price to be upwards of $35 million.[3] The team has not won a major trophy since Hauptman bought the team.

On the field, behind Blanco and Wilman Conde, Osorio's central defender at Millionarios, the Fire went on an extended unbeaten run to close the season, easily qualifying for the playoffs but were defeated at New England in the Eastern Conference Final. On December 10, 2007, the Fire announced Osorio's resignation. He was named manager of the New York Red Bulls eight days later. Hauptman filed tampering charges with the league in protest, and the Fire were compensated by the Red Bulls with cash and draft picks.[4]

Changes came quickly in Osorio's wake. On January 17, 2008, former Fire star Frank Klopas was named Technical Director in charge of player personnel, and longtime Fire assistant Denis Hamlett was appointed manager. While the Fire struggled at home in 2008 the team found unusual success on the road, gathering 22 out of a possible 45 away points. Momentum grew with the long-anticipated signing of Chicago native Brian McBride on a free transfer in July 2008. After disposing of the Red Bulls 5–2 in the season's final game, they decisively conquered New England in the first round of the playoffs with a 3–0 victory at home. This was Chicago's first playoff advancement over the Revolution in four consecutive seasons. But triumph only lasted for a week, as they again missed the league final with their 2–1 Eastern Conference Final loss to eventual champion Columbus.

The 2009 season saw few alterations to the previous year's roster. The story of the season was much the same, as continued poor home form offset excellent performances away from Toyota Park. This led to a second place Eastern Conference finish behind Columbus. Despite this, Real Salt Lake managed to upset the Crew in the quarterfinals, meaning Chicago would host the semi-final for the first time in six years. Chicago's nearly flawless home playoff history meant little in the end, as they lost to Salt Lake, 5–3, on penalties after 120 scoreless minutes. Shortly thereafter, manager Denis Hamlett was dismissed.[5]

A team in flux (2010–2012)[edit]

Leading up to 2010, Chicago hired Carlos de los Cobos as head coach, previously manager of El Salvador.[6] Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Chris Rolfe and Gonzalo Segares all departed. More changes came in the summer transfer window with the trade of Justin Mapp to Philadelphia, the acquisition of Mexican international striker Nery Castillo, and the trade for former Swedish international midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. Defender Gonzalo Segares returned to the Fire, leaving Apollon Limassol after only six months away. Despite these reinforcements, the Fire failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in club history. Former U.S. international Brian McBride and club original C.J. Brown retired at season's end, followed closely by the departures of Wilman Conde, Ljungberg, and Castillo.

2011 began much in the way of 2010, with foundering performances both home and away. After nine winless matches, Carlos de los Cobos was let go on May 30, 2011.[7] Technical Director Frank Klopas was named interim head coach. Behind summer reinforcements Pável Pardo and Sebastián Grazzini, as well as forward Dominic Oduro's 12 goals after being acquired in a trade from Houston and Dan Gargan's defensive addition, the Fire qualified for the U.S. Open Cup Final (lost at Seattle) and narrowly missed making the playoffs after gaining 24 points in their last 12 league matches. After the season's conclusion, Klopas was given the permanent manager job on November 3, 2011.[8]

Although expectations were modest for 2012, Klopas' first full season as coach, the year saw a change in fortune for the Fire. The spring and summer months saw several new acquisitions for the club, starting with the reacquiring of Chris Rolfe from Aalborg BK.[9] Rolfe, who scored eight goals and 12 assists in the 21 games he played in 2012, would later be named the Fire's MVP.[10] Other signings included Brazilian midfielders Alex Monteiro de Lima from the Swiss side FC Wohlen, Alvaro Fernandez from Seattle Sounders FC, forward Sherjill MacDonald from Beerschot AC of Belgium and veteran defender Arne Friedrich from VfL Wolfsburg. Although they would fall out of the U.S. Open tournament early that season, the Fire eventually compiled a 17–11–6 record, their best since 2000, and ranked as high as second in the Eastern Conference before ending the year in fourth place.[11] On October 31, 2012, in their first playoff appearance since 2009, the Fire lost their first-round MLS Cup playoff match-up at home against the Houston Dynamo, 2–1.[12]

Missing the playoffs[edit]

In the 2012–2013 offseason, the franchise made some moves to improve on 2012's success. The team acquired Joel Lindpere and Jeff Larentowicz and also traded Dominic Oduro for Dilly Duka and the rights to Robbie Rogers.[13] The beginning of the season saw the team struggling to score goals, resulting in a record of 2–5–1 through April. After two successive losses to the Union in May, and with veteran Arne Friedrich still on injured reserve, the Fire acquired their former centerback Bakary Soumaré from Philadelphia.[14] Also in May, Robbie Rogers expressed an interest to play in Southern California, at which point a deal was brokered for Rogers' rights in exchange for Chicago native Mike Magee from the Los Angeles Galaxy.[15] On June 23, 2013, Friedrich, who had not played a 2012–13 game due to recurring injuries, announced his retirement.[16] After starting the season 2–7–3, the additions of Soumare and Magee led to seven wins in the squad's last 10 games. The Fire were busy in the transfer window as well, adding veteran defensive midfielder Arévalo Ríos and forward Juan Luis Anangonó.[17] The Chicago Fire also advanced to host the semifinal of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but fell 2–0 to eventual champions D.C. United. Alleged fan actions in the stadium that night led to a famous editorial piece, "What it means to be a part of the Fire family",[18] being penned by the club's Director of Communications, which was seen as an odd attack on the fan base and widely panned by local and national media. After a 12–6–6 finish to the season, the Fire narrowly missed the playoffs for the third time in the last four years—losing out to the Montreal Impact on goal difference. On October 30, 2013, the club announced that the president of soccer operations Javier Leon and head coach Frank Klopas had stepped down,[19] but the Fire front office had a replacement one day later. On October 31, 2013 Chicago Fire named Frank Yallop as its new head coach and director of soccer.[20] On December 5, 2013, Fire MVP Mike Magee became the first Fire player to win the MLS MVP Award—beating out Los Angeles Galaxy's Robbie Keane and Montreal Impact's Marco Di Vaio for the honor.[21][22][23]

Meanwhile, Yallop was busy recruiting a new coaching staff which included "Ring of Fire" member and Chicago Fire veteran C. J. Brown and former U.S. International striker Clint Mathis as the team's assistant coaches, adding Columbus Crew's Brian Bliss as Technical Director. Former Fire forward Brian McBride was added as an assistant coach in May 2014 for a short-term assignment.[24][25][26][27] The shake-up extended to the roster, as Yallop moved team veterans and starters and brought in youth prospects—reforming the team while freeing up cap space. Major exits in early 2014 included Chris Rolfe,[28] Austin Berry,[29] Jalil Anibaba, Daniel Paladini, and Paolo Tornaghi. Filling that void was a handful of youth prospects including Harrison Shipp (homegrown player), Benji Joya (via MLS "weighted lottery"), and Grant Ward on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. Despite rarely looking like a team that could advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs, the team once again advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but were routed 6–0 by eventual champions Seattle Sounders FC on August 13. The result was the worst competitive defeat in club history and saw Frank Yallop issue an apology to Chicago Fire supporters on the club's official website.[30] As the Cup run had, the season ended in disappointment, with the Fire ending the season with a 6–18–10 record, with 18 draws, also setting a record for most draws in an MLS season in the process.

The club began 2015 with renewed hope, bringing three new Designated Player signings in David Accam, Shaun Maloney and Kennedy Igboananike to bolster an anemic attack. The club also signed products Michael Stephens and Eric Gehrig as well as Trinindad & Tobago international Joevin Jones. With so many new pieces needing to adjust, 2015 marked the first time in club history the side began the season with an 0–3–0 record, but they showed signs of recovery by winning their next three matches. Unfortunately, April was the last time the club would be anywhere near equal on wins and losses, but the side did still advance to another Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Playing in front of a sparse crowd at the Philadelphia Union's PPL Park, the Fire fell 1–0 at the same hurdle for the third straight season. Less than two weeks later, Maloney, who was the club's center piece offseason signing, was transferred back to England with Hull City citing personal reasons.[31]

Despite no hope for a Cup final, widespread fan protests[32][33] and dim likelihood of a playoff berth, the club didn't part ways with Frank Yallop until September 20, 2015, one day after another listless 1–0 home defeat to Orlando City SC.[34] Along with Yallop's departure, the club announced it had named long-time MLS executive Nelson Rodriguez as the club's new general manager, with his first job being to commence a search for a new head coach. Technical director Brian Bliss was given the interim head coaching job, with former player and current club vice president Logan Pause assisting for the remaining five matches. The club has finished the 2015 season with an overall record of 8 wins, 20 losses and 6 ties. For the first time in the club's history Fire finished the season with zero road wins (0–12–5). Twenty losses in a season became the highest in the club's history.[35]

Final years in Bridgeview, IL[edit]

On November 18, 2015, Rodriguez made his first moves as GM, firing most of Yallop's remaining technical staff, including goalkeeping coach Aron Hyde, fitness coach Adrian Lamb and Director of Scouting Trevor James.[36] Rodriguez also parted ways with the club's long-time Director of First Team Operations Ron Stern, Equipment Manager Charles Raycroft and Assistant Equipment Manager Allan Araujo. On November 24, 2015, the club announced that Veljko Paunovic, former coach of the Serbian U-20 side that won the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, had been named the new head coach of the Chicago Fire.[37] On January 5, 2016, technical director Brian Bliss also departed the Fire to join Sporting Kansas City as Director of Player Personnel, completing the total overhaul of the technical staff.[38]

On March 21, 2017 Manchester United allowed Bastian Schweinsteiger to join Chicago Fire, subject to a medical and a visa being secured.[39][40][41][42][43] The move from Manchester United was completed on March 29, 2017.[44]

On July 11, 2018, the club announced that Hauptman had sold a 49 percent stake of his ownership to Joe Mansueto, the founder of Morningstar, Inc..[45] On September 13, 2019, Hauptman sold his majority share to Mansueto, who became the sole owner.[46]

Colors and badge[edit]

Chicago Fire alternate logo (1998–2006)

The official club colors are red and white. Over its history, the Fire have also employed navy blue, sky blue, and black as alternate colors.

The Chicago Fire logo is derived from the standard shape of a fire department's crest (also shown by the Chicago Fire Department), also known as a Florian's cross. This style was chosen by the original general manager, Peter Wilt, to establish a timeless image evocative of both classic American sports (as in the logos of the NHL Original Six) and the traditions of European soccer.

The logo features a stylized 'C' at its heart (representing Chicago), similar to the logos of the Bears and Cubs. The six points in a ring around the center allude to the stars in the Municipal Flag of Chicago, specifically the one commemorating the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Nike, the Fire's original equipment supplier, intended for the team to be named the Chicago Rhythm. The Rhythm identity featured a turquoise, black and green color scheme, and a logo adorned with a cobra. Team officials ignored Nike's work, and privately developed the Fire identity with the help of Adrenalin, Inc., a well-known sports-specific branding agency.[47][48]

The original Fire shirts were chosen because of their resemblance to a Chicago fireman's coat, featuring broad horizontal stripes across the torso and sleeves. In the first year, the home jersey was red and white with a silver "FIRE" on the stripe; while the away shirts were white and black in the same style. The jersey has remained remarkably constant ever since, continually maintaining the same format of an all-red shirt with a white horizontal chest stripe, even through changes in equipment sponsor (from Nike, to Puma, and currently adidas), until 2012 when the white stripe was exchanged for a blue stripe. Conversely, the Fire's secondary shirts have changed much over the years from white with black, to white with navy, to white with red, to all-white style and the all-blue currently used. Third shirts have often been yellow (originally to honor the Chicago Sting, later for the expired partnership with Morelia). A popular light blue third shirt was worn in 2005, based on the Municipal Flag of Chicago but was discontinued during the sponsorship change to Adidas the next year.

The club and their fans make frequent use of the symbols of Chicago, as a show of civic pride. Most prominent are the six-pointed Chicago stars, but the light blue color associated with the city, the municipal device, and the city skyline appear regularly on materials produced by the club and its fans. The municipal flag of Chicago is also favored by fans and often seen at the stadium, in a manner akin to the use of the flag of Catalonia by FC Barcelona fans but without a nationalist subtext.

Uniform history[edit]


Seasons Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1998–2002 Nike None
2003–2005 Puma
2006–2007 Adidas
2008–2010 Best Buy
2011 None
2012–2015 Quaker
2016–2018[49] Valspar
2019–present Motorola


SeatGeek Stadium, Chicago Fire's home stadium since 2006 until 2019

Chicago played its home games at SeatGeek Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium located at 71st Street and Harlem Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois, about 12 miles southwest from downtown Chicago from 2006 until the end of the 2018 season. The Village of Bridgeview owns and operates SeatGeek Stadium, which opened as Toyota Park on June 11, 2006 and originally cost approximately $100 million. It was renamed from Toyota Park to SeatGeek Stadium after the end of the 2018 season, with an estimated naming rights fee between 2.5 million to 4 million per year.[50]

In April 2019, multiple sources reported the club in negotiations with Bridgeview, Illinois to buy out the remainder of the its lease at SeatGeek Stadium and return to Soldier Field.[51][52] For its first years in the league the Fire played at Soldier Field, the 61,500-capacity home of the Chicago Bears of the NFL and one of the main venues of the 1994 FIFA World Cup. While that stadium was undergoing a $632 million renovation, the Fire played at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Illinois, on the outskirts of the Chicago metropolitan area. They returned to Soldier Field toward the end of 2003, remaining there through the end of 2005.

In July 2019, Chicago Fire reached a deal to leave SeatGeek Stadium for a payment of $65.5 million and move back to Soldier Field starting in 2020.[53] The return to Soldier Field was finalized with an agreement with the Chicago Park District in September 2019.[54] On October 8, 2019, Chicago Fire and the Chicago Park District have decided that in 2020 Chicago Fire's home stadium will be at Soldier Field.[citation needed]

Home stadiums[edit]

Other stadiums[edit]

Club culture[edit]


"Section 8", the supporters area at SeatGeek Stadium

There is a noteworthy fan culture for the Fire, existing from the date the club was founded, and building on an enthusiasm throughout Chicago sports. At matches, supporters and ultras groups occupy a standing area directly behind the north goal, in the Harlem End of Toyota Park.[55] This area is referred to as Section 8, originating from the numbering of the corresponding section at Soldier Field and the American military designation of mentally unfit soldiers.[56] Section 8 Chicago, the Independent Supporters' Association (ISA) for the Fire, oversees the activities of these numerous groups.[57] While incorporating a worldwide variety of styles with a Chicago bent, groups as part of Section 8 generally fall under the ultras designation. Additionally, an associated spinoff group called "Sector Latino" which originally congregated in the corner-kick Section 101[58] at the stadium's southwest end until season long discussions between the ISA and the Chicago Fire Front Office over the improper ban of Sector Latino eventually saw the group moved to Section 137, directly behind the south goal. There are also several other affiliated ultras and supporters groups, including The Arsonists, Banter Buddies, Blitzer Mob, Husaria, Fire Ultras 98, Partisans, Red Scare, Second City North, The Western Front, Ultras Red-Side, and Whiskey Brothers Aught-Five.[59] The Section 8 Chicago ISA is a registered 501(c)7 non-profit organization run by volunteers through an elected board of directors.[60]

Match atmosphere is known for organized displays of stadium-wide support, particularly for matches of prime competitive importance. Call-and-response cheering amongst the crowd is commonplace.[61] Fans at SeatGeek Stadium for Fire matches periodically choreograph tifo presentations both to show their pride and inspire the players on the field.[62] SeatGeek Stadium remains one of the few American environments to conduct such fan-driven presentations on a large scale.


Their official mascot is Sparky, an anthropomorphic Dalmatian dog. Sparky is usually shown wearing the club's jersey but also arrives wearing firefighter attire.[63]


While the Fire have heated rivalries with a number of different MLS teams, Fire supporters of different ages will likely give different responses as to who the club's main rival is. The earliest Fire supporters would list Brimstone Cup rival FC Dallas as the Fire's nemesis, or Los Angeles Galaxy following heated playoff and cup matches with Dallas and L.A. in the league's early years.

After the Fire moved to the Eastern Conference, meetings with Dallas and LA became less frequent. Rivalries with D.C. United and New England Revolution were stoked following several thrilling playoff meetings. The Fire and Revolution are MLS' most frequent playoff matchup, meeting in the MLS Cup Playoffs 8 different times in 10 seasons from 2000 to 2009, splitting those encounters 4–4, with the Fire winning in 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2009. New England ended the Fire's playoff runs in 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Newer rivals include Columbus Crew, who up until the introduction of FC Cincinnati were the closest MLS team geographically to the Fire, and Atlanta United following quarrels between the two sets of fans.


In 2015, the Chicago Fire and NBC Sports Chicago (then Comcast SportsNet Chicago) agreed to a three-year deal, which includes 21 regular season and postseason matches for 2015.[64] Fire matches were televised locally on NBC Sports Chicago. Dan Kelly and former Fire coach Frank Klopas provided play-by-play and color commentary, respectively.[65] Matches were previously televised by NBC Chicago Nonstop and WPWR-TV.[66]

In 2016, the Chicago Fire and Tribune Broadcasting agreed to a three-year deal, which will see all regular season and postseason matches broadcast on WGN Radio and their internet-only sister station WGN Plus starting in the 2017 MLS season.

On March 9, 2018, the Chicago Fire announced that ESPN had acquired the regional television rights to the team through 2020, and that their regionally-televised matches will stream exclusively on ESPN's upcoming subscription service ESPN+. The team's matches would be streamed online for free until the launch of ESPN+ on April 12, 2018. Behind Los Angeles FC, the Fire are the second MLS franchise to sell their regional television rights exclusively to an over-the-top content provider (with the former having signed with YouTube TV).[67] ESPN+ also holds the U.S. out-of-market streaming rights for regional MLS matches as part of its overall service, meaning that all of the Fire's regional matches are available nationally (excluding the market of their opponent).[68][69][70]

Spanish-language radio station WRTO airs Chicago Fire matches since 2017, replacing WEBG-HD2.[71]


Current roster[edit]

As of October 13, 2019[72]
No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper David Ousted  Denmark
2 Defender Marcelo  Brazil
3 Defender Jonathan Bornstein  United States
4 Defender Johan Kappelhof  Netherlands
5 Defender Francisco Calvo  Costa Rica
6 Midfielder Dax McCarty  United States
7 Midfielder Raheem Edwards  Canada
9 Forward C. J. Sapong  United States
10 Midfielder Aleksandar Katai (DP)  Serbia
11 Midfielder Przemysław Frankowski  Poland
12 Forward Amando Moreno  United States
13 Midfielder Brandt Bronico  United States
14 Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (HG)  United States
15 Defender Grant Lillard (HG)  United States
16 Midfielder Michael Azira  Uganda
17 Forward Diego Campos  Costa Rica
20 Midfielder Nico Gaitán  Argentina
21 Forward Fabian Herbers  Germany
27 Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm  United States
30 Goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland  United States
32 Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina (HG)  United States
33 Midfielder Jeremiah Gutjahr (HG)  United States
36 Defender Andre Reynolds II (HG)  United States
45 Goalkeeper Richard Sánchez  Mexico
Midfielder Álvaro Medrán  Spain

Out on loan[edit]

No. Position Player Nation
18 Midfielder Cristian Martínez (on loan to Las Vegas Lights)  Panama
28 Forward Elliot Collier (on loan to Memphis 901)  New Zealand

Ring of Fire[edit]

The "Ring of Fire" was established in 2003 by Chicago Fire Soccer Club and the Chicago Fire Alumni Association as permanent tribute to honor those who have made the club proud and successful over its history.[73] Aside from the initial member Piotr Nowak, only "Ring of Fire" members can select new inductees, and no more than one can be selected any year. Names and numbers (if applicable) are prominently displayed inside SeatGeek Stadium.

There were no inductees in 2008, 2010, or 2011. In 2008, the members voted to honor two recently deceased fans (supporter leaders Dan Parry and Brandon Kitchens) but were overruled by the club chairman Andrew Hauptman.[74] Parry and Kitchens were later made members of the Wall of Honor, a special recognition for Fire fans. In addition to Parry and Kitchens, the late Fire fans Euan McLean and Al Hack have been inducted into the Wall of Honor as of 2011.[75] C.J. Brown was expected to be honored in 2011, but a new rule was established that inductees must have been away from the club for at least a calendar year.[76] Brown, at the time an assistant head coach at Real Salt Lake, was officially inducted at the halftime ceremony during the home game vs. Real Salt Lake in Toyota Park on May 9, 2012.[77][78]

On October 3, 2015, Ante Razov, the club's all-time leading scorer, became the eight individual to be inducted into the club's Ring of Fire Hall of Fame.[79] The ceremony took place on that day during the halftime of the regular season home match against New England Revolution.[80]


Head coaches[edit]

Name Nationality Tenure
Bob Bradley  United States October 30, 1997 – October 5, 2002
Dave Sarachan  United States November 4, 2002 – June 20, 2007
Juan Carlos Osorio  Colombia July 1, 2007 – December 10, 2007
Denis Hamlett  Costa Rica January 11, 2008 – November 24, 2009
Carlos de los Cobos  Mexico January 1, 2010 – May 30, 2011
Frank Klopas  United States May 30, 2011 – October 30, 2013
Frank Yallop  Canada October 31, 2013 – September 20, 2015
Brian Bliss (interim)  United States September 20, 2015 – November 24, 2015
Veljko Paunovic  Serbia November 24, 2015 –

Club presidents[edit]

Name Tenure
Robert Sanderman 1997–2000
Peter Wilt 2001–2005
John Guppy 2005–2008
Javier León (interim) 2008
Dave Greeley 2008–2010
Javier León (interim) 2010
Julian Posada 2010–2012
Nelson Rodríguez 2018–present[81]

Vice presidents[edit]

General managers[edit]

Name Tenure
Peter Wilt 1997–2005
Nelson Rodriguez 2015–present

Chief Operating Officer[edit]

Name Tenure
John Urban 2018–present [81]

Technical directors[edit]

Directors of player personnel[edit]

Assistant coaches[edit]

Team physicians[edit]

  • Dr. Preston Wolin (1998–08)
  • Dr. Gilberto Muñoz (1999–15)
  • Dr. Jeffrey Mjaanes, M.D. (2015– )
  • Dr. Joshua Blomgren, D.O. (2015– )



Competitions Titles Seasons
Competitions Titles Seasons
MLS Cup 1 1998
Supporters' Shield 1 2003
U.S. Open Cup 4 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006


Top goalscorers[edit]

As of August 18, 2019[91]
# Name Career MLS Playoffs Open Cup CCL Total
1 United States Ante Razov 1998–2000
76 10 6 2 94
2 Hungary Nemanja Nikolić 2017–present 50 0 5 0 55
3 United States Chris Rolfe 2005–2009
48 4 3 0 55
4 United States Josh Wolff 1998–2002 32 0 6 1 39
5 Ghana David Accam 2015–2017 33 0 5 0 38
6 Ukraine Dema Kovalenko 1999–2002 22 5 3 5 35
7 Poland Piotr Nowak 1998–2002 26 3 0 0 29
8 Jamaica Damani Ralph 2003–2004 22 1 4 1 28
9 United States Mike Magee 2013–2015 22 0 5 0 27
10 Bulgaria Hristo Stoichkov 2000–2002 17 4 3 0 24


As of October 6, 2019[92][better source needed]
Season Regular Season Season
MLS Cup Playoffs U.S. Open Cup CONCACAF
Champions League
Leagues Cup
1998 2nd West, 3rd overall 20–12–0 Won MLS Cup (D.C. United 2–0) Champions Did not qualify Not held
1999 3rd West, 4th overall 18–14–0 Lost Conference Semi-finals (Dallas Burn 1–2) Round of 16 3rd place
2000 1st Central, 2nd overall 17–9–6 Lost MLS Cup (Kansas City Wizards 0–1) Champions Did not qualify
2001 1st Central, 2nd overall 16–6–5 Lost Semi-finals (Los Angeles Galaxy 1–2) Semi-finals Not held
2002 3rd East, 7th overall 11–13–4 Lost Conference Semi-finals (New England Revolution 1–2) Round of 16 Quarter-finals
2003 1st East, 1st overall
Won Supporters' Shield
15–7–8 Lost MLS Cup (San Jose Earthquakes 2–4) Champions Did not qualify
2004 5th East, 10th overall 8–13–9 Did not qualify Runners-up Semi-finals
2005 3rd East, 4th overall 15–13–4 Lost Conference Finals (New England Revolution 0–1) Semi-finals Did not qualify
2006 3rd East, 4th overall 13–11–8 Lost Conference Semi-finals (New England Revolution 2–4) Champions
2007 4th East, 7th overall 10–10–10 Lost Conference Finals (New England Revolution 0–1) Round of 16
2008 2nd East, 3rd overall 13–10–7 Lost Conference Finals (Columbus Crew SC 1–2) Quarter-finals
2009 2nd East, 5th overall 11–7–12 Lost Conference Finals (Real Salt Lake 0–0p) Round of 16
2010 4th East, 10th overall 9–12–9 Did not qualify Round of 16
2011 6th East, 11th overall 9–9–16 Runners-up
2012 4th East, 6th overall 17–11–6 Lost Knockout Round (Houston Dynamo 1–2) Round of 32
2013 6th East, 12th overall 14–13–7 Did not qualify Semi-finals
2014 9th East, 15th overall 6–10–18 Semi-finals
2015 10th East, 20th overall 8–20–6 Semi-finals
2016 10th East, 20th overall 7–17–10 Semi-finals
2017 3rd East, 3rd overall 16–11–7 Lost Knockout Round (New York Red Bulls 0–4) Round of 16
2018 10th East, 21st overall 8–18–8 Did not qualify Semi-finals
2019 8th East, 17th overall 10–12–12 Fourth round Quarter-finals

Team awards[edit]

As of December 7, 2018[93]
Year Team MVP Golden Boot* Defender of the Year
Winner Goals
1998 Poland Piotr Nowak United States Ante Razov 10 Czech Republic Luboš Kubík
1999 Czech Republic Luboš Kubík United States Ante Razov 14 Czech Republic Luboš Kubík
2000 Poland Piotr Nowak United States Ante Razov 18 United States Carlos Bocanegra
2001 Poland Piotr Nowak United States Eric Wynalda 10 United States Zach Thornton
2002 United States Zach Thornton United States Ante Razov 14 United States Zach Thornton
2003 United States Chris Armas United States Ante Razov 14 United States Carlos Bocanegra
2004 United States Henry Ring Jamaica Damani Ralph 11 United States Jim Curtin
2005 Honduras Ivan Guerrero United States Chris Rolfe 8 Honduras Ivan Guerrero
2006 Costa Rica Andy Herron Costa Rica Andy Herron 9 United States CJ Brown
2007 Mexico Cuauhtémoc Blanco United States Chad Barrett 7 Costa Rica Gonzalo Segares
2008 United States Jon Busch United States Chris Rolfe 9 Mali Bakary Soumaré
2009 United States Brian McBride United States Brian McBride 7 Colombia Wilman Conde
2010 United States Logan Pause Guatemala Marco Pappa 7 United States CJ Brown
2011 Ghana Dominic Oduro Ghana Dominic Oduro 12 United States Cory Gibbs
2012 United States Chris Rolfe United States Chris Rolfe 8 Germany Arne Friedrich
2013 United States Mike Magee United States Mike Magee 15 United States Sean Johnson
2014 United States Sean Johnson United States Quincy Amarikwa 8 United States Sean Johnson
2015 Ghana David Accam Ghana David Accam 10 United States Eric Gehrig
2016 Ghana David Accam Ghana David Accam 9 Netherlands Johan Kappelhof
2017 Hungary Nemanja Nikolić Hungary Nemanja Nikolić 24 Netherlands Johan Kappelhof
2018 Germany Bastian Schweinsteiger Hungary Nemanja Nikolić 15 Germany Bastian Schweinsteiger

*Golden Boot is the team leader in goals (regular season games only).

Average attendance[edit]

Regular season/Play-offs
  • 1998: 17,887/22,677
  • 1999: 16,016/8,197
  • 2000: 13,387/8,431
  • 2001: 16,388/11,239
  • 2002: 12,922/9,434
  • 2003: 14,005/14,961
  • 2004: 17,153/missed playoffs
  • 2005: 17,238/11,493
  • 2006: 14,088/10,217
  • 2007: 16,490/17,834
  • 2008: 17,034/17,312
  • 2009: 14,689/21,626
  • 2010: 15,814/missed playoffs
  • 2011: 14,553/missed playoffs
  • 2012: 16,407/10,923
  • 2013: 15,228[94]/missed playoffs
  • 2014: 16,076/missed playoffs
  • 2015: 16,003/missed playoffs
  • 2016: 15,602/missed playoffs
  • 2017: 17,383/11,647
  • 2018: 14,806/missed playoffs
  • 2019: 12,324/missed playoffs



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External links[edit]