In the wake of the polar vortex and in depths of the post-holiday winter cold, it hardly seems like time for Chicago Fire soccer. However, with the SuperDraft over and the heart of the off-season transfer period upon us, now is a great time to start gearing up for the 2014 Fire season and get involved. Fire fans are fortunate that there is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. Let's have a look at some of the great things to come.
2014 Independent Supporter Association Annual General Meeting
This Saturday, January 25, Section 8 Chicago is holding their 2014 Annual General Meeting. The meeting will be held at 1:00 pm at ChiTown Futbol, which is located at 2255 S. Throop St in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. All Fire fans are encouraged to attend. The General Meeting is a great opportunity for fans to meet and interact other fans who care about the changing place of the club's supporters within soccer in the US.
Agenda items will include a review of the previous year, the ratification of amendments to the ISA by-laws and the election of the volunteer-based Board of Directors for 2014. There are two contests worth mentioning in the board elections. Peter Bychowski, an independent supporter, is running for Chair against last year's Vice-Chair Jeff Marinacci, who is affiliated with Whiskey Brothers Aught Five. For Vice-Chair Braulio Diaz of the Ultras Red-Side is running against Patrick Stanton of Whiskey Brothers Aught Five.
To check out the platforms for the 2014 candidates, point your browser to the Section 8 Chicago website. I encourage everyone to participate, investigate the candidates, and get involved with the process. Absentee ballots were distributed last week but should be mailed in as soon as possible if fans wish to vote but are unable to attend the meeting and would like that vote counted. The Section 8 General meeting is a great place to reconnect with friends and fans before the start of the 2014 season.
16th Annual Season Kickoff Luncheon
Still a ways off - but something Fire fans have to look forward to - is the 16th Annual Season Kickoff Luncheon on Tuesday March 4th. The event will be begin at 11 a.m. in the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The Luncheon is a charity event benefiting the Chicago Fire Foundation and is a terrific afternoon.
In addition to being one of the first opportunities to meet the 2014 team prior to the start of the season, this year is also exciting because it will feature the unveiling of the new 2014 primary kit. Tickets are available by calling (708) 496-6751 or at this link.
Tickets start at $80.00 per a person or full tables seating 10 guests for $750.00. The first 20 table that pay $850.00 will be seated with a Fire player or coach. Begining February 1st tickets go up to $90.00 and $850.00 per a table ($1,000.00 to be seated with a player, if any remain).
Chicago Red Stars
Attending Red Stars games is an excellent way to connect with other soccer fans in Chicago. The Stars, similar to the MLS, just went through their own draft process. In the 2014 NWSL draft, held on January 17th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the Red Stars selected midfielder and U.S. Women’s National Team pool player Julie Johnston from Santa Clara University, midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo from the University of Illinois, and forward Hayley Brock from the University of Maryland.
Combined with returning talent, the 2013 Season should be an exciting year for Red Stars. The Red Stars season begins in April. I will make sure and post scheduling information as soon as it is available in future Campfire segments.