As we sit here in Chicago buried under feet of snow, it’s hard to imagine doing anything outdoors. But, the Chicago Fire are back in 61 days. Really! We’re two months away. With that in mind, here are some key dates to remember between now and then:
Preseason Report Date: March 1
Teams not taking part in Concacaf Champions League will report to their markets on March 1, to begin a seven day quarantine period. However, players can report early, get their quarantine out of the way, and begin training early if they choose. Several Fire players have already arrived back in Chicago.
Training Camp Begins: March 8
Training camps officially get underway March 8, after all players have completed their seven day quarantine. As usual, preseason will last around six weeks.
Fire jersey debut: Late February (probably)
The Fire are planning to unveil new home and away kits for 2021, which will be the last to feature the Crown logo before it goes away next season. We should get a glimpse of the new shirts soon.
2021 Schedule Released: TBA
MLS said on Feb. 13 the 2021 schedule will be out “in the coming weeks.”
Season Begins: April 17
MLS pushed the start of the 2021 season to April 17, to give teams two more weeks to prepare after the collective bargaining agreement negotiations wrapped up.
Fans in Stands: “Months Away”
When it comes to pandemic safety, Chicago is far more strict than other markets, meaning the only way to see the Fire play live in April will probably mean a road trip.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, told NBC 5 earlier this month that sports teams are still likely “months away” from allowing fans in the stands.
“We’re definitely making good progress here, but we are still not even below the 400-case mark and 5% positivity that really mark our danger zone in Chicago,” Arwady told NBC 5. “I think about fans in stands, that is months away.”
That could mean fans will be allowed in Soldier Field to watch the Fire sometime over the summer, just in time to enjoy some great weather at the lakefront.
Hopefully all the snow is gone by then.