according to a statement on the official team website by Fire GM Peter Wilt, who helped choose the name -- to be a reflection of the city and its history. Wilt also noted the post-Fire rebuilding process that many Chicagoans view as a source of pride. The Fire name was introduced on Oct. 8, 1997, the 126th anniversary of the Great Fire.
Finishing in fourth place in the poll was the San Jose Earthquakes name. One of three MLS teams to change its name, the San Jose MLS franchise was originally called the Clash. Prior to the 2000 season, the team, which had not made the playoffs in three seasons, decided to try to reverse its fortunes with a name that harkens back to the glory days of the NASL in the Bay Area.
The original incarnation of the Earthquakes played in the NASL (1974-84) and Western Soccer Alliance (1985-88) and made its home at Spartan Stadium, as the current Quakes do now. According to the official team website, the name was originally chosen through a newspaper contest in the San Jose Mercury News. The name change has apparently worked for the Quakes, who have won two MLS Cups with the new name and currently hold the best record in the league.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.