Four Fire players nominated by Sports Profiles Plus for 2004 Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards

CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire and Sports Profiles Plus have announced that four members of the "Men in Red" - midfielder Chris Armas, defender Jim Curtin, midfielder Jesse Marsch and goalkeeper Henry Ring - are among the nominees up for awards at the 17th Annual Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards. This year's Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards will be held on Thursday, Dec. 9 at the Chicago Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL.

Heading the list of nominees are Armas and Curtin, who are both in the running for the "Most Valuable Player Award." Known as the heart-and-soul of the "Men in Red," Armas has donned the captain's armband for the last two seasons and was on pace to set a career-high in assists during the Fire's 2004 campaign before a reoccurring knee injury sidelined him for much of the final third of the season. Curtin, the 2004 Fire Defender of the Year, became only the third player in team history to play every minute of an MLS season while extending his team-record games played and games started streaks to 62 and 60 games, respectively.

Ring, who was voted the 2004 Fire Honda MVP, was rightly recognized as one of the candidates for the "Rising Star Award." After backing up perennial starting goalkeeper Zach Thornton for his first three professional seasons, Ring burst onto the Major League Soccer scene by recording shutouts in six of his first 10 starts as the Fire's number one option in between the posts in 2004. Ring would finish his first campaign as Chicago's starter among the League's top three in shutouts, saves and save percentage.

After being named one of four recipients of a "Chicago Humanitarian Award" in 2003 by Sports Profiles Plus, Marsch is once again up for the honor in 2004. The 30-year-old "Fire Original" recently earned his first Fire/U.S. Soccer Federation Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with several charitable organizations throughout the Chicagoland area, including Christopher House, the American Lung Association, the Gurnee branch of the PADS homeless shelter, and Thresholds. In addition, Marsch has made several appearances in the community on behalf of the FireWorks for Kids Foundation, the Fire's charitable arm, for whom he has served on the Board of Directors since the spring of 2003.

This year will mark the 17th consecutive year that Sports Profiles Plus will hold the Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards, the area's only sports awards program voted on by fans. Sports Profiles Plus produces and promotes the Sports Fans Choice Awards, which are now held in five cities nationwide: Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles. Fans will be able to pick their winners in the MVP and Rising Star categories, while a deserving member of each Chicago professional sports team will be honored with a Humanitarian Award. Fans can vote now by filling out a ballot at Chicagoland Jewel Food Stores or online at www.sppsports.com.

Sports Profiles Plus is a leader in the sports special events industry, with the Celebrity Flag Football Challenge, Softball Challenge USA and Celebrity Slam Jam among its roster of annual events. In addition, Sports Profiles Plus has a strong focus on kid friendly initiatives, including its "Kids Time Xtreme" Mall Tour, which focuses on promoting safety and education to families with children predominately between the ages of 4 and 12, through sports, games and attractions.

Marsch Among Celebrities at 2004 Ulrich All-Star
Celebration at Joe's Sports Bar Thursday

Jesse Marsch's contributions to Chicagoland charities will continue on Thursday, Nov. 4, when the midfielder will be just one of several famous Chicago sports heroes that are scheduled to appear at the Uhlich All-Star Celebration at Joe's Sports Bar, located at 940 W. Weed Street in Chicago, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CT. The event will benefit the Uhlich Children's Home, one of Illinois's oldest child welfare organizations, with all funds raised from the program going towards providing services for children that have been abused and neglected.

Marsch will be signing autographs alongside other athletes and celebrities from Chicago sports teams past and present, including White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, former Notre Dame and Bears lineman Chris Zorich and former Blackhawk and Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Savard. The evening, hosted by WFLD-FOX 32's Corey McPherrin, will include a live and silent auction, dinner buffet, and live entertainment. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 20 and under. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please call 773-290-5808 or e-mail koenigg@ucanchicago.org.


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