Fire's homestand continues Saturday against Colorado

R ankle cartilage damage -- out

Here's to our health

After a handful of "Men in Red" suffered through some minor injuries over the first month-and-a-half of the season, the Fire's roster is nearly back to full strength heading into training this week. Veteran midfielder and "Fire Original" Jesse Marsch (ankle surgery) remains the only member of the Fire on the ACE/Tru-Fit Injury Report this week. Marsch began light running for the first time last week and is expected to return to the Fire line-up in mid-to-late June. The latest player to come off the injured list is defender/midfielder Orlando Perez, who saw his first minutes of the 2004 MLS season yesterday, coming in as a substitute for C.J. Brown in the 76th minute and playing 14 minutes.

Heat up your summer with "The Summer Sizzler"

The Chicago Fire has recently introduced a mid-season ticket plan called "The Summer Sizzler." The new ticket plan - a savings of $20 off the regular price - consists of 10 vouchers that can be used in any combination for any Chicago Fire games at Soldier Field this season. Individual game tickets for the Fire's 2004 MLS campaign at Soldier Field - including the highly anticipated July 11 doubleheader featuring the Fire vs. the New England Revolution and the U.S. Men's National Team vs. Poland - can be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 312-559-1212 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting the Chicago Fire Offices, located at 980 N. Michigan, Suite 1998, in Chicago. For more information or for group discounts, please call 888-MLS-FIRE.

"Homecoming Weekend" on June 5 Highlighted by Fire Alumni Gathering, Klopas Induction to "Ring of Fire"
The Chicago Fire will celebrate its proud history on Saturday, June 5 at Soldier Field when it holds the first official gathering of the Chicago Fire Players Alumni Association (CFPAA) and inducts former forward Frank Klopas into the "Ring of Fire" as part of the festivities surrounding that afternoon's match against D.C. United.

The Fire announced the creation of the CFPAA earlier this month, making it the first organization of its kind in Major League Soccer. The group of former Fire players will hold their first annual "homecoming weekend" from June 4-5 in conjunction with the first trip back to Chicago for former Fire players Peter Nowak and Tom Soehn, both of whom joined the D.C. United coaching staff during the last off-season. The mission of the newly formed CFPAA - a subsidiary of the FireWorks For Kids Foundation - is to provide soccer opportunities to economically disadvantaged Chicago area youth through scholarships into soccer camps, clinics, and academies while maintaining and enhancing lasting bonds of communication with the Chicago Fire organization for all former players.

The Fire-DC United match will be preceded by Klopas' addition to the "Ring of Fire," a tribute created last year in an effort to honor members of the team who have made the Chicago Fire a successful organization and displayed the qualities of leadership, dedication and integrity. Only members of the "Ring of Fire" are allowed to elect the newest member, meaning last year's inaugural inductee, Nowak, was responsible for naming the homegrown Chicago legend to the distinguished group.

Armas and Beasley Get the Call for U.S.-Honduras Friendly
U.S. National Team Manager Bruce Arena has named Chicago Fire midfielders Chris Armas and DaMarcus Beasley to his 18-man roster for the U.S.A.'s international friendly match against Honduras on June 2 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Fire duo is part of only seven MLS players on the roster, as the bulk of the squad is made up of European-based players coming off the conclusion of the European season. The international friendly will be broadcast via tape delay on Spanish-language network Telemundo beginning at 10 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

The June 2 friendly marks the fifth time in five matches for the U.S. in 2004 that both Armas and Beasley have been named to the National Team's roster by Arena. Beasley has played in all four contests, while Armas has seen time in three of the games after being forced to miss the squad's March 31 match at Poland due to injury. Armas will enter the match with 54 career appearances for the "Stars-and-Stripes" and two goals, while Beasley has notched four goals in his 32 caps for the U.S. Senior Team.

Tryouts for Chicago Fire Juniors U-23 Teams to Take Place Tonight in at Hubble Middle School in Wheaton
The Chicago Fire Juniors have announced that Saturday's postponed tryouts for the club's U-23 College Development Program teams have been rescheduled to this evening at Hubble Middle School, located at 603 S. Main Street (corner of Roosevelt Road and Main Street) in Wheaton, IL. Inclement weather last weekend forced the cancellation of the tryouts. The women's U-23 tryouts will be conducted from 6-7:45 p.m. CT this evening, with the men's tryouts taking place from 8-9:45 p.m. CT. For more details, please call the Chicago Fire Juniors offices at 312-705-7212.

Etc.

  • The Chicago Fire Media Relations Department would like to invite all Chicagoland media members to its weekly media luncheon, provided by Buona Beef, this Wednesday, May 26 at 12:15 p.m., following the team's practice session at Lake Forest College. The media luncheons will be held every Wednesday - with the exception of the team's five Wednesday match-ups (June 23 @ Chicago Fire Reserves at St. Laurence HS, July 14 @ New England, Aug. 18 vs. San Jose and Sept. 1 vs. DC) - for the remainder of the 2004 MLS regular season campaign. Players, coaches and team officials will be available to media at the weekly luncheons. For more information or for directions, please contact the Fire's Media Relations Department at 312-705-7200.

  • Major League Soccer issued a $1,000 fine to Fire general manager Peter Wilt last week for violating MLS rules that prohibit public criticism of League personnel. Wilt's comments were published in The Daily Southtown on May 12, 2004.

  • Fans looking for Jim Curtin's latest edition of "Curtin Call" won't have long to wait, as the defender's weekly column will appear this afternoon on the club's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com.

  • The Fire would like to send birthday greetings to midfielder DaMarcus Beasley. Despite being a mainstay on Fire teams for the past five seasons, 'Beas' turns only 22 years of age Monday.

  • Congratulations to the Chicago Fire Reserves, who used a 2-0 shutout victory over the Des Moines Menace Sunday afternoon at Eisenhower HS in Blue Island, IL to qualify for its first-ever appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. The Fire Reserves, who had been thwarted in their attempt to qualify for the nation's oldest tournament by the Menace over the past two seasons, earned one of the Premier Development League's eight berths to the prestigious competition with their stellar play through the first three weeks of the 2004 campaign. The Heartland Division-leading Reserves moved their record to a perfect 5-0-0 on the season and have yet to yield a goal in PDL play this season, outscoring their five opponents by an astounding 23-0 margin. The Reserves will return to action this Saturday when it hosts the Sioux Falls Spitfire (0-3-1) at 7 p.m. at Eisenhower HS in their lone contest of the weekend.


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