Ever wonder what the Fire is going to do about the lack of games in the reserve league? Well, they are trying to keep the reserves busy - today the club announced two friendlies for the reserve side - the first versus Indy Eleven on April 1st, the second against Marquette University on April 6th.
The game versus the Indy Eleven will be played at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex on the campus of Purdue University at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Fire will host Marquette University on the Toyota Park practice field at a time not yet determined.
Contacted by email, former Fire leader Peter Wilt said, "It will be odd watching my new team play against my old team. The Fire is my home town team and will always be special to me. I look forward to catching up with some old friends on and off the field."
Tickets for the Indy Eleven game will go on sale March 12th for $11 for general admission and $15 for reserved seating. The tickets can be bought at IndyEleven.com. The game versus Marquette will be free and open to the public. Indy Eleven will open their NASL inaugural season 11 days after the friendly so they should feature their first team and should be a good game. Marquette's program has improved over the past few years and is one of the better programs in the Big East. They will not be in season though but they do have a good connection with the Fire. Charlie Lyon, Brady Wahl, Louis Bennett II, Jake Taylor and Daniel Szczepanek are Marquette players who are from the Fire academy and David Selvaggi is a Fire PDL alum.
"We're excited to add games above and beyond the 10-game reserve league schedule," said Chicago Fire Technical Director Brian Bliss.
"Beyond the benefits to the First Team, these additional games are great opportunities to expand the Club's reach," said Chicago Fire COO Atul Khosla. "It will be especially fun to have our guys go head-to-head with Peter Wilt's new club. Hopefully this is the first of many opportunities to partner together as we continue to grow our brand across the Great Lakes Region."
"A match against the Chicago Fire has been on Indy Eleven fans' wish list since day one, and we're glad to give them the chance to create what will be an outstanding atmosphere in West Lafayette," said Indy Eleven President/General Manager Peter Wilt. "Most importantly, this game offers one more chance to take on quality opposition as we get ready for the opening of our season 11 days later."
Indy Eleven is doing something great by offering the supporters sections for both teams their own section for the game. (Wilt will do great things with this club.) They have links here if you are interested in sitting with Section 8. The Fire continue to try to grow their brand in the region through these games. They already announced that Fire games will be televised in Wisconsin this year and now these games will hopefully introduce the team to new fans. The midwest is not full of MLS teams so the Fire need to do a better job of establishing themselves as the region's team and I hope they continue to do so.
These games will also give the reserve team more games. The reserve league only provides 10 games which is not nearly enough games; as a result, the level of play can be ugly. The more games that our youngsters can play, the better. In an ideal world, we would be in USL-Pro somehow - but since we are not, I hope the Fire schedules another friendly or two to keep our boys busy and fit.
Plan on attending any friendlies? Like these moves? Praying for a USL partnership?