Chicago Fire celebrated their big 2-0 in 2017 and, like a fine wine or cast iron skillet, they only getting better with age. With home games dotting the calendar from now until October 28 and youth programs you probably never knew existed, there are plenty of opportunities to see this team set the city on fire.

Keep your eyes peeled for these notable players
The club signed two new stellar players during the 2017 season that add to the thrill of a Fire game. Be on the lookout for highly decorated Bastian Schweinsteiger (#31), who spent 13 seasons as a key midfielder at Bayern Munich and most recently played for Manchester United. He now calls Chicago home with wife, former tennis player and equally talented French Open champ, Ana Ivanovic.

Dax McCarty (#6) is a standout midfielder who hit his 300-MLS-game milestone last September wearing a Fire jersey. A native of Florida, he represented our country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as the 2015 and 2017 MLS All-Star teams, and was named an MLS Best XI Honoree in 2015.

Nemanja Nikolic (#8) was the league’s 2017 Golden Boot winner, which is awarded to the player with the most goals, with 24 goals. He was also a finalist for Newcomer of the Year and Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, so expectations are high for this Warsaw transplant in 2018.

Pre-game at Toyota Park
Begin your Fire experience with Fire Fest!  Just inside Gate B in the northwest corner of Toyota Park you’ll find pre-game activities that start 2 hours prior to kickoff. Fans can enjoy music, games, giveaways and more before heading into the venue.  Featured activities include an inflatable field perfect for a quick 3v3 game, Chicago Fire Speedshot to test your leg power and how fast you can shoot, 4+1 Stadia to prove you’re the best in this 5-a-side street soccer game, and Soccer Pool, a combo between snooker and soccer.

Bring your appetite
Come hungry because new culinary treats were introduced this season. Think ice cream nachos for the kids and brisket sliders for the adults.

Show your love in lights
Celebrating a special day for a soccer superfan? The Chicago Fire will display your “Welcome, Birthday, Wedding or Anniversary” wishes on the scoreboard at Fire home games for a $50 donation to the Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the team that has made significant impacts in the lives of disadvantaged youth in the surrounding community. Messages containing 45 characters or less can be sent to nameinlights@chicago-fire.com 3 business days prior to game.

 

Sign up for a camp that’s a real kick in the grass
Starting in June through the end of August, The Chicago Fire Soccer Club is hosting full and half-day summer camps at The PrivateBank Fire Pitch and at more locations in the Chicagoland area than we can list. So, no doubt, there’s a camp in your neck of the woods. These camps offer mini (and not-so-mini) soccer fans, ages 2-16, the opportunity to learn from professional and experienced staff, regardless of their soccer skills. Every camper receives a dri-fit jersey, soccer ball, player evaluation and a ticket to their unique Graduation Day event at Toyota Park.

Not a soccer player (or fan)? Not a problem . . . there’s still a program for you!
You don’t have to be a soccer athlete (or even a highly skilled athlete) to benefit from Chicago Fire’s youth programs. Regardless of preferred sport, kids can sign up for Athlete 2.0, a speed, agility, quickness (SAQ) program. These small-group classes, led by a professional trainer and intended to assist youth athletes in reaching their highest potential, take place at Fire House Fitness, a state-of-the-art workout facility located at The PrivateBank Fire Pitch.

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Sign up for the Club’s club . . . Junior Supporters Club
Be a Club insider by signing up junior for the Junior Supporters Club. This free program offers fun and engaging ways to interact with the team, including special ticket offers, a monthly e-newsletter, access to exclusive contests and content, an invite to member-only player autograph sessions and a chance to win Junior Supporter of the Month Matchday Experience.

A good-to-know notes for parents

  • When it comes to game day safety, common areas may not be blocked by parked strollers. Strollers may be checked at the Guest Services booth.
  • All children 2 years old and older require a ticket to gain admission to stadium events.
  • Only bags that are 14″x14″x6″ or smaller will be allowed into the stadium, so leave the massive diaper bags at home and opt for something streamlined.
  • There are three family restroom facilities: behind Sections 103, 128 and 135.
  • Target just launched a line with Umbro, so check your local store for fun throwback attire. Maybe a pair of their iconic checkered shorts to go with your Fire jersey?

Toyota Park
7000 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview
Online: chicago-fire.com

Does your family have a favorite Fire player? We’d love to hear about it in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers