With the Chicago Fire set to finally play their 2020 home opener Tuesday at Soldier Field, the team trained at their new home stadium for the first time on Monday.
It seems bizarre, but for most of the guys, this was the first time they’d ever set foot inside Soldier Field as players. Jonathan Bornstein played there as a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and Francisco Calvo was on the Costa Rica team that played there for the Copa America Centenario, but you have to go to the coaching staff—guys like Frank Klopas and Adin Brown—to find anyone else with the club who’s played in the famed stadium.
Some of the guys, like Ignacio Aliseda, Miguel Navarro, and Robert Berić, were caught smiling in awe looking at their home stadium for the first time.
“It looks beautiful,” Raphael Wicky told reporters after training on Monday. “It’s obviously huge. The field looks good. Honestly, it’s good, so they’re all very, very excited. Obviously, we hoped to open here in a full stadium in March but now we’re happy to finally be here.
“I’ve known and felt since I arrived here how much this means to the people and to the Club and everyone is excited and was extremely excited when I arrived here and they announced the Club going back to Soldier Field, being back in downtown, closer to the people, where obviously the Club had a big history and it’s a very historic stadium. So, everyone is really excited and it means a lot to the Club and I’m aware of that and I’m very, very excited to be here.”
The Fire host FC Cincinnati at Soldier Field Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. You can watch the match on WGN-TV and ESPN+.
Other Fire News:
- Before he took questions, Wicky read a brief statement saying the Fire player who tested positive for COVID-19 last week continues to be asymptomatic, in self-isolation, and all other players and staff have continued to test negative. Because of privacy concerns, the team isn’t releasing the name of the player, except to say he wasn’t on the roster that traveled to Columbus last week.
- Wicky also noted the Fire will still be without CJ Sapong, who was excused from team activities last week. Sapong has posted on Instagram that his fiancée gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday.
- Wicky said because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and the visa process, he isn’t sure yet when new centerback signing Carlos Terán will arrive in Chicago. He said the club and MLS are working to get him to Chicago as soon as possible, but it might still be weeks before Terán arrives.