Weekly update: Awards nominees
"Nice Guys" can finish first - Mapp and Marsch named finalists in pair of MLS year-end award categories
While it has been said that "Nice guys finish last," Chicago Fire midfielders Justin Mapp and Jesse Marsch could finish first after each was named one of three finalists for the MLS Fair Play Award and U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, respectively, earlier this afternoon. The 20-year-old Mapp showed glimpses of his promise this year, with his speedy brand of play often being slowed to a halt by fouling defenders. Despite hitting the deck a total of 54 times in 24 games this season, Mapp was whistled for only 19 fouls committed and did not receive a single caution from referees this season, continuing his streak of 48 games to begin his career without seeing a yellow card. Mapp is up against Colorado Rapids defender Ritchie Kotschau and MetroStars defender Eddie Pope for the MLS Fair Play Award. One of five remaining "Fire Originals," Marsch could add to his trophy case, which already includes the 2004 Fire/U.S. Soccer Humanitarian of the Year honor. The 31-year-old Princeton University product is being recognized for his charity work with a number of organizations throughout the Chicagoland area, including Christopher House, the American Lung Association, the Gurnee branch of the PADS homeless shelter, Thresholds and the FireWorks for Kids Foundation - the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire, for who he has served on the Board of Directors since the spring of 2003. The other two finalists for the League-wide award this season are Colorado Rapids midfielder Chris Henderson and Dallas Burn defender Steve Jolley.
Only four more days to pre-order Fire's new Puma "Chicago Flag" third kits
The Chicago Fire and PUMA® have announced a new playing kit set to debut during the 2005 season that will supplement the Fire's existing home and away uniforms during select matches throughout the season. Taking into account the spirit and culture of Chicago and the dedication of its fans, PUMA has created the third uniform as homage to the Windy City with a jersey references the City of Chicago's municipal flag in both design and color palette. While retaining the signature Fire badge branding, the new jersey, like the flag, features white stripes across the chest and side panels that signify the north, south and west sides of the city. The baby blue color of the jersey symbolizes Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Great Canal. Scheduled for release in May 2005, the Fire will be holding a special pre-order sale through this Friday, Nov. 12 that includes free shipping. To order, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE.
Four "Men in Red" nominated by Sports Profiles for 17th Annual Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards
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. Armas, the Fire's captain, and Curtin, the 2004 Fire Defender of the Year winner, join a list of Chicago's most talented athletes among the candidates for Chicago's Most Valuable Player Award. After enjoying a breakout season in net for the Fire, Ring has deservedly earned his spot on the ballot for the Chicago's Rising Star Award, while Marsch's continued efforts in the community has earned him his second consecutive Humanitarian Award from Sports Profiles. Fans will be able to vote for their favorites in the Most Valuable Player and Rising Star categories online at www.sppsports.com from now through Nov. 29.
Busy Boucicaut to join Haitian national team vs. Brazil's '94 All-Stars for benefit match in Miami
As part of another effort to help out his native Haiti, Fire midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut will join the Haitian National Team for a benefit match against the 1994 World Cup Champions from Brazil as part of an international soccer doubleheader this Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. The doubleheader kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Haiti-Brazil contest and will continue at 8:30 p.m. with a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match between Mexico and St. Kitts and Nevis. Organizers for the Miami doubleheader have announced that five dollars from each ticket sold will be donated to UNICEF for the charity's continuing efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastation caused by Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne in September. Tickets for the exciting night of soccer in South Florida will range from $40 for reserve seats to $25 for general admission seats ($30 day of game).
Help out Haiti through the Boucicaut Hurricane Relief Fund
Chicago Fire and Haitian National Team midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut is spearheading a relief effort for victims of the hurricanes that have destroyed much of Haiti over the past two months. In conjunction with Illinois Youth Soccer, the Boucicaut Hurricane Relief Fund will be collecting soccer equipment and monetary donations to rebuild the Caribbean nation's youth soccer programs and provide relief to the island's beleaguered residents. After donating one of his MLS paychecks to help out his friends and family back home, Boucicaut is hoping to raise greater awareness of the difficult conditions in the country after the natural disasters caused heavy damage and killed more than 1,600 people. Boucicaut will be traveling back to his native Haiti in December and will personally distribute the collected goods to youth soccer programs and the national youth soccer academy, while monetary donations will go to general relief efforts through non-profit organizations. The distribution event will provide a treat for Haitian children, as the 22-year-old soccer star enjoys the popularity of a national hero in the small Caribbean country. Addresses to send both soccer equipment and monetary donations can be found below. The deadline for the receipt of all donations has been set for Wednesday, Dec. 1.
New and gently used equipment can be shipped to:
Boucicaut Hurricane Relief Fund
c/o Illinois Youth Soccer
939 Industrial Drive
Bensenville, IL 60106
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Boucicaut Hurricane Relief Fund
c/o Illinois Youth Soccer
1655 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(Checks can be made to Illinois Youth Soccer with "Boucicaut Hurricane Relief Fund" in the memo line.)
FireWorks for Kids Foundation to host Chicagoland premiere of "Christmas with the Kranks" on Nov. 23
After its successful event surrounding the film "Mona Lisa Smile" last November, the FireWorks for Kids Foundation - the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire - announced last week that it will be hosting another Chicagoland movie premiere during the holidays, this time for the new Revolution Films movie "Christmas with the Kranks." The special event will take place on Nov. 23 at the Regal Cinemas in Lincolnshire, IL, and all proceeds from the movie premiere will go towards the FireWorks for Kids Foundation. The film, a new holiday-themed comedy based on John Grisham's novel Skipping Christmas, stars Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Akroyd and is scheduled for a nationwide release on Nov. 24. To receive more information on the event, please call the FireWorks for Kids Foundation office at 312-705-7260 or 312-705-7218, or visit the Community section of www.Chicago-Fire.com in the upcoming weeks for more details.