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Fire to house Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame at new stadium

CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire, the Illinois State Soccer Association (ISSA) and the Village of Bridgeview announced Wednesday that the Fire's new stadium in Bridgeview will permanently house the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame. The stadium announcement is the first of a series to come soon regarding the opening of the Fire's world-class stadium, scheduled to break ground this fall.

"The new stadium in Bridgeview will serve as a tribute to the history and tradition of soccer in Illinois and in America," said Chicago Fire general manager Peter Wilt. "The inclusion of the first permanent display of the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame will help establish the stadium as America's Soccer Home. The stadium will be a worthy home for the honored men and women who developed soccer in Illinois. The Hall of Fame will display trophies, images and other mementos from throughout the last century that will put the sport in perspective for the millions of fans who will go through the new stadium."

On initial display at the new stadium will be the Dewar Cup (U.S. Open Cup), which has been won eight times by Illinois teams - 1938 ABA Sparta, 1940 ABA Sparta, 1946: Vikings, 1953 Falcons, 1990 AAC Eagles and the Chicago Fire - the most successful MLS team in U.S. Open Cup competition - in 1998, 2000, and 2003.

"We are very excited by the prospect of the illustrious Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame having a permanent home at the new Fire Stadium," said ISSA president and CEO George Chazaro. "The Fire's new house is a perfect venue to showcase the soccer builders and players that have contributed so much to soccer not only locally but nationally and internationally as well."

On permanent display will be a history of soccer in Illinois, a photo history of the current Hall of Fame members including the 21 Illinois Hall of Fame members that are also National Hall of Fame members in addition to local soccer memorabilia and cups that span the nearly 90 year history of the Illinois State Soccer Association. For more information on the Illinois State Soccer Association and the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame, please call 773-283-2800 or email: soccerissa@aol.com.

Hall of Fame induction Set for Sept. 18 at Bob Chinn's in Chicago

Chicago Fire GM Peter Wilt is one of 11 inductees into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. The 44-year-old Wilt will join fellow inductees Flo Dyson, Nedeljko Kralj, Federico Lopez, Peter Ioakimidis, Julio Parrales, Frank Tomek, Phil Riess, Joseph Soehn, Bruno Trapikas and Len Ziehm, all of whom will be honored with the state's highest soccer honor at ISSA's 2004 Soccer Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and Banquet on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Bob Chinn's Restaurant in Chicago beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT. For more information, please contact ISSA at 773-283-2800.


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