a component of the annual Pro Team Community Award, which honors a professional sports organization for its contributions to the community. The Fire faced possibly the biggest community outreach challenge in its history at the conclusion of the 2001 season, as the team was left with no place to play due to renovations to Soldier Field. The Fire reached out to several communities in and around Chicago in search of a temporary home, and Naperville welcomed the Fire to Chicago's western suburbs just two months prior to the start of the 2002 campaign. The unique partnership that was formed between the Fire, Naperville and North Central College during the club's two seasons there allowed the Fire to earn special recognition from the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame for this award.
"This recognition by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame is a testament to the great efforts set forth by Naperville Mayor George Pradel, North Central College President Hal Wilde, the Chicago Fire and all of our staff," said Wilt. "The city, college and neighborhood all worked with the Fire to address issues of community concern."
The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame will honor this achievement by presenting the award to the Fire in a ceremony on Saturday in Boise, Idaho. With the award, the Fire become the first MLS team to garner recognition by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and the first to receive the Special Community Challenge Award.
Fire to help usher Eric Wynalda into National Soccer Hall of Fame
The Chicago Fire will take on the MetroStars in the first-ever MLS Hall of Fame game at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. on Monday (12:30 p.m. CT, FSW). The match is part of the festivities surrounding the induction weekend that will see former U.S. national team and Chicago Fire forward Eric Wynalda and former L.A. Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri enshrined as the league's first Hall of Fame inductees. Former U.S. women's nation team stalwart Michelle Akers will be the third member of the Hall of Fame's "Class of 2004."
During his only year with the Fire in 2001, the two-time MLS All-Star Wynalda appeared in 21 games for the "Men in Red," tallying a team-high 25 points on 10 goals and five assists. His offensive efforts led him to the 2001 Chicago Fire Budweiser Scoring Championship, making him the only player other than Fire all-time leading scorer Ante Razov to achieve the feat.
Wilt: From hall pass to Hall of Fame at Marian Central
Chicago Fire GM Peter Wilt has been honored by Marian Central High School as a member of its 2004 Sports Hall of Fame class, which will hold its induction ceremony Friday in Woodstock, Ill. Wilt was MVP of Marian's cross country team in 1974 and earned letters in cross country and tennis, but it is his professional accomplishments that earned the 1978 Marian graduate the honor of entering the Sports Hall of Fame. Wilt is the only member of this year's class to earn accolades for his work in professional sports, as the other inductees of the "Class of 2004" will enter the Hall of Fame based on their individual athletic achievements.
"I am honored to join Marian Central's Sports Hall of Fame and anticipate having wonderful memories when I return for the induction this weekend," said Wilt. "I am indebted to Marian, and, in particular, my cross country and tennis coach Hans Rokus, for providing me with the life skills and values that have benefited me throughout my life and career in professional sports administration."