Weekly update: Boucicaut waived
The Chicago Fire have announced that the club waived Haitian international midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut. Prior to the roster move, the Fire had retained the rights to the 23-year-old Boucicaut after declining to pick up a club-option year on his contract, which expired on Dec. 31, 2004. After signing with Chicago as a Discovery player on Aug. 16, the right-sided midfielder played in five games (one start) for the Fire without registering a point. The waiving of Boucicaut leaves the Fire with two Youth International players - Gonzalo Segares (Costa Rica) and Thiago (Brazil) - on its roster.
Mapp and Sanneh Rejoin Fire Today for Beginning of Bradenton Training Camp
After shaking off its collective rust in north suburban Lake Forest last week, the Chicago Fire has headed south to warmer climates to continue its preseason schedule. The club left Chicago today for the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, where it will hold a three-week training camp that will conclude on Friday, Feb. 25. The "Men in Red" were met in Florida by teammates Justin Mapp and Tony Sanneh, who had been in training with the U.S. Men's National Team at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA since Jan. 24. While in Florida, the Fire will take part in at least five matches and scrimmages, including its opener against the University of Central Florida this Thursday, Feb. 10 in Bradenton. Chicago will also travel to Guadalajara, Mexico and Jackson, MS during the preseason before returning to Chicago to prepare for its 2005 MLS Season Opener on Saturday, Apr. 2 against FC Dallas. To inquire about media availability during each leg of the preseason, please contact Diana Lopez, Fire Director of Media Relations, by phone at 312-705-7272 or via email at Dlopez@Chicago-Fire.com.
Chicago Fire 2005 Preseason Calendar (Dates subject to change)
Fire Welcomes Four New "Men in Red" Via 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft
The Chicago Fire selected four players - forward Justin Cook, goalkeeper David Mahoney, midfielder Chris Karcz and defender Hollis Donaldson - in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft, which was conducted last Friday. All four of the newest members of the "Men in Red" were on hand at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL today to kick off their spring training as the fight for roster spots begins to heat up. The Fire drafted for depth at every position in the Supplemental Draft, beginning up top with third overall selection Justin Cook, whose 30 points (12g, 6a) for Ohio State University last year helped him garner the 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year award. The Fire next chose netminder David Mahoney with the draft's 15th selection, making him the second Fire selection drafted from Dave Sarachan's alma mater of Cornell University in the last two years. Following the selection of Rutgers midfielder Chris Karcz, a three-time All-Big East selection, with the draft's 27th pick, the Fire made defender Hollis Donaldson the first player ever from Liberty University to be taken in an MLS draft in the fourth round (39th overall pick).
Love Hurts! Fire to Host Valentine's Day Blood Drive Next Monday
Whether you have someone to celebrate Valentine's Day with or not this year, everyone can help give the gift of life on that special day, as the Chicago Fire is partnering up with LifeSource to host a Valentine's Day Blood Drive next Monday, Feb. 14 at the Fire's downtown office, located at 980. N. Michigan Avenue (corner of Michigan and Oak), Suite 1998, from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. CT. For those interested in donating, you must be 17 years of age or older and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood. There is no upper age limit and most medications do not disqualify you from donating. If you have questions about medical or travel eligibility, please call the LifeSource Medical Help Desk at 877-543-3768. To schedule your appointment or to find out more information on the event, please call Everett Gutierrez in the Fire office at 312-705-7219. For more information on LifeSource, please visit their website at www.LifeSource.org.
Fire to Begin Hunt for U.S. Open Cup Crown on July 13
U.S. Soccer has announced that a total of 42 teams - 26 professional and 16 amateur - will compete in the 2005 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June. The U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The Chicago Fire will begin its march towards a fourth U.S. Open Cup title when it takes part in a third round match to be contested on Wednesday, July 13. Since entering the prestigious tournament in 1998, the Fire has cemented its status as one of the most successful teams to ever take part in the competition, as evidenced by its three U.S. Open Cup championships, four Finals appearances and astounding 18-4-1 record in just seven years of participation.
Amadaan Soccer LLC Rebrands Reserves as Chicago Fire Premier, Welcomes W-League's Chicago Gaels FC
With the addition of the yet-to-be named MLS reserve league for the 2005 season, Amadan Soccer LLC has announced that the name of the men's Premier Development League (PDL) Chicago Fire Reserves franchise has been changed to Chicago Fire Premier, reflecting the team's membership in the PDL. In just four seasons of play, the Fire Premier has established itself as one of the top development teams in North America, with its list of accomplishments including four division championships ('01,'02,'03,'04), a Central Conference Championship ('03), a League Regular Season Championship ('04), an appearance in the PDL Championship ('03) and 18 players that have been drafted by MLS clubs. In addition to its original holding in the United Soccer Leagues, Adaman Soccer LLC has also announced that it has reached an agreement with the USL to establish the formation of a new W-League team, Chicago Gaels FC. The Gaels will continue a long tradition of W-League soccer in Chicago, replacing the Chicago Cobras, who recently ceased W-League operations. Additional information about the Gaels FC, including details on open tryouts set for early April, is available at www.chicagogaelsfc.com.
FireFest Returns to Chicago Southland on Saturday, Feb. 26 in Tinley Park
For the second straight year, the Chicago Fire will head to the Chicago Southland to host its annual Winter FireFest, with this year's event being held on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. CT at the Holiday Inn Select & Convention Center Hotel - Tinley Park, located at 18501 S. Harlem Ave. in Tinley Park, IL. As part of its continuing community outreach effort, the Fire will also host a Health Fair in conjunction with the Winter FireFest event. Admission to FireFest and the Health Fair will be free, while donations to the FireWorks for Kids Foundation - the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire - will be accepted at the door. The 2005 Winter FireFest will feature interactive games, food, music, a raffle featuring Fire prizes and an autograph session that will offer Fire fans the first chance to meet many of the players on the club's new-look roster in 2005. In addition to a yet to be determined number of players, Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan and President/GM Peter Wilt will both be available for autograph and question-and-answer sessions at the event. The Fire will also welcome the public for a free Health Fair during FireFest, as visitors will be able to meet with local health care professionals for free medical screenings while also receiving information on ways to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Information on specific organizations participating in the FireFest Health Fair will be released at a later date.
FireWorks for Kids Foundation to Hold Annual Season Kickoff Luncheon Mar. 29 at Hyatt Regency
The FireWorks for Kids Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire, will host the 2005 edition of its annual Season Kickoff Luncheon, sponsored by AthletiCo, on Tuesday, Mar. 29 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, located at 151 East Wacker Drive. This year's event will begin with a reception at 11:00 a.m. CT, with the lunch and formal program beginning at 12:00 p.m. The FireWorks for Kids Foundation is proud to announce that recent National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee and former Fire and U.S. National Team member Eric Wynalda has been confirmed as the Keynote Speaker for this year's Kickoff Luncheon. Tickets for this year's Season Kickoff Luncheon are $60 per individual or $500 for a table of ten, with all proceeds from the event and silent auction benefiting the FireWorks for Kids Foundation. For more information regarding the 2005 FWFK Season Kickoff Luncheon, feel free to contact the Fire Community Relations department by phone at 312-705-7218 or by fax at 312-705-7393.