By Paul M. Banks
CHICAGO, IL- Fans and media alike came out to the 2010 Chicago Fire Kickoff Luncheon at the Swissotel Chicago yesterday. With 750 confirmed guests, the 2010 luncheon was the largest attended in the history of the club and the first sell out. All proceeds from tickets sold benefited the Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable sector of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.
Chicago sports anchor Jim Rose MCed the event and moderated a Fire Side Chat with Fire forward Brian McBride, Head Coach Carlos de los Cobos and Technical Director Frank Klopas. The players and coach discussed the upcoming season (which kicks off Saturday night in New York City vs. the Red Bulls) as well as the South Africa World Cup this summer. Cobos talked about his hopes for his team: Mexico, and Klopas and McBride did likewise with their respective national teams (Greece and USA). McBride is the only American ever to score in multiple World Cups (’98 and ’02).
Other hot topics of discussion included the new television play-by-play team and the transition the team will make from old coach Denis Hamlett to new leader Carlos de Los Cobos. “We’re going to play this game by passing the ball for the most part,” Mcbride said about the style and tempo change. “For the most part we want the ball to flow on the ground. It’s going to be a lot about movement and communication,” he continued.
Expectations are high for a team that fell just short of reaching the MLS final last season. But of course, expectations are always high for the Chicago Fire because the team, founded 12 years ago in 1998, has made the playoffs every year but one.
Fans in attendance got to meet the team and obtain autographs while media took the opportunity to discuss the upcoming 2010 MLS season with players and coaches. A “wine lottery” and silent auction also took place, with the proceeds benefiting the Fire Foundation.For more information about the Chicago Fire Foundation, click here
Through grants and contributions to non-profit organizations, the Chicago Fire Foundation is dedicated to enriching the quality of life of the Chicagoland community, particularly its youth in the areas of health and wellness, education and the environment. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $1.4 million dollars in grants and contributions. With the generosity of the Fire organization and the surrounding Chicagoland community, the Chicago Fire Foundation looks forward to further opportunities to expand programming and outreach. The Chicago Fire Foundation raises funds through events such as the annual Season Kickoff Luncheon, the Commemorative Jersey Auction, and 50/50 Raffle.