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Patrick’s Hot Time in Old Town Farewell

Patrick McCraney is leaving Hot Time to join CHGO Sports

SOCCER: MAR 14 MLS - Whitecaps at Fire Photo by Warren Wimmer/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This wasn’t intended to be a Friday night news dump, but it kind of ended up that way.

As you might have heard, this is my last day here at Hot Time in Old Town. While I’m leaving SB Nation, I’m not leaving the Chicago Fire beat. I’m joining CHGO Sports as the website’s Fire writer. I’ll be joined by three alums of this fine site—Alex Campbell is co-hosting a weekly Fire podcast with me, and Sandra Herrera and Claire Watkins are joining CHGO to cover the Chicago Red Stars.

It’s bittersweet. I’m really excited for the new opportunity at CHGO, but I’ve had a blast writing for Hot Time over the last two-and-a-half years. My first season was interrupted almost immediately by a global pandemic, and in-person access quickly turned into Zoom calls and phone interviews. At the height of lockdown, I remember one day attempting to interview Jonathan Bornstein over the phone, while both my kids and his kids were shouting in the background. Somehow, kind of like the pandemic in general, we got through it.

I was jogging my memory trying to figure out my favorite stories I’ve done here at Hot Time. Here are a few, in no particular order: In November 2021, I broke the news that the Fire had hired Ezra Hendrickson as the club’s new head coach. It was a quick write up, but it was fun being the reporter who got that news out first. In April 2020, I got to reminisce with DaMarcus Beasley about the time in 2004 he played for the United States Men’s National Team against Poland, then switched jerseys and played for the Chicago Fire in the second game of a Soldier Field doubleheader. I also loved talking to Chinonso Offor about his top-secret escape from Cyprus, and the fun time he had at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

But my favorite Hot Time story, I think, was the profile I did on Fabian Herbers in the fall of 2020. As everyone knows by now because of his podcast, Zee Soccer Pod, Fabi is one of the most interesting guys you could ever hope to meet. He’s so much more than a soccer player, and getting to tell the story about how he got from Germany to Omaha to Philadelphia to Chicago was a blast. Breaking news and signings and rumors are all fun, but getting to know some of the players and coaches as people remains my favorite part of this job.

I plan to keep doing the same things over at CHGO. There will be breaking news, feature stories, my Chicago Fire Notebooks filled with updates, game previews, columns, and more. Plus, the weekly podcast, which you can watch live on YouTube (right now we’re on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m.), or listen to after the fact wherever you get your podcasts. I hope you’ll consider supporting my work over there, as you guys have done here for the last few seasons.

And keep reading Hot Time, too. Ruben Tisch is still here, like he has been for a decade now (!), and Alex Calabrese is on board writing about both the Fire and the Red Stars. There will be plenty of new names that come along, as there always have been.

Now, let’s hope the Fire can bag a few goals and take three points this weekend against the New York Red Bulls.

Thanks, everyone. See you at Soldier Field!