A couple of months ago, the Chicago Fire tweeted about a FIFA 18 tournament that the club would be hosting at the Heineken Pub97. As an avid player of the game, and a half decent one at that, I decided to sign up for the competition. There was a $20 fee to enter, but the grand prize was much higher, and there was the pride that would come with being named “one of the top gamers in Chicago.”
As the tournament took place at 7 pm on a Tuesday night, the drive over to the Pub was not ideal. Traffic and construction meant a twenty minute drive became an hour long one. Luckily, I still managed to arrive with time to spare.
When I pulled in, I was reminded of how nice of a place the Pub97 truly is. The building itself is well designed, and looks very modern. Inside, the place is filled with Fire memorabilia that honors the history of the club. There’s plenty of stuff to do, with a club shop, lounge area, and a bar all included. Outside, there are a couple of turf soccer fields that host a number of tournaments, complete with floodlights in case any games are played after dark.
I gave a quick look to the list of names that were signed up for the tournament, and noticed a Djordje M. on the signup board. “Imagine if that’s actually Mihailovic,” I thought to myself. A couple of minutes of later, my theory was proven correct, as the homegrown signing rolled in.
It was a lovely surprise to see him there, and even better to see him in such a good mood. Fire fans sometimes forget Mihailovic is just 19 years of age, and was born only eight days before I was. Suffering a long term injury when he did could debilitate a promising career, but it seems Djordje has recovered both physically and mentally.
He had a smile on his face throughout, whether he was playing in the tournament or chilling with others in between games. At one point, he took a seat on the couch next to me and a friend I made during the day, and we shared a quick convo on club soccer. Mihailovic, like myself, is a fan of Manchester United, and believes this upcoming season will be the one for the club. I did ask him how him and Michael De Leeuw are recovering from their ACL injuries. He informed me that everything was going to plan, and that both of them should return to training by the end of next week.
On a personal level, my tournament was over before it ever truly began. To decide the draft order, and who got first pick to decide what team they wanted to play with, there were sixteen glasses lined up on a table, each with a number on the bottom. I picked mine, and realized mine had the number 16, meaning I had the last choice. I had to settle for Roma, who might’ve had a successful season in real life, but are woeful on FIFA 18.
I came up against a guy playing with Tottenham, who put three past me, taking every chance that fell to him. I managed to steal a win in peak Italian fashion, scoring a scrappy goal and holding on defensively to get the result. My effort was for naught, as my final game was against a German using Bayern Munich. He scored early, and we ended up just talking about the Bundesliga before the game was over.
All in all, it was a good ol time, which was well worth the $20. I got to play some FIFA, make some new friends, and hang out with a Chicago Fire player. Hopefully the club continues to run events like these in the future.