Blockbuster Deal Sends Ante Razov to Columbus for U.S. National Team Defender Tony Sanneh
The Chicago Fire completed one of the biggest deals in team history on Sunday when it acquired U.S. National Team defender Tony Sanneh from the Columbus Crew in exchange for the Fire's all-time leading scorer, forward Ante Razov. In the sign-and-trade deal, the Fire re-signed Razov with a portion of the same allocation (earned by missing the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs) that was split to sign midfielder John Thorrington on Jan. 11.
After spending six years (1998-04) playing in the world-renowned German Bundesliga for famed clubs FC Nurnberg (2001-04) and Hertha Berlin (1998-01), the 33-year-old Sanneh returned to the Midwest late last summer and signed with the Columbus Crew on Aug. 27, 2004. Sanneh began his MLS career with DC United in 1996, helping the team to back-to-back MLS Cups in 1996 and 1997 and scoring a goal in each championship game, including the game-winner against the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 26, 1997 at RFK Stadium. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee product also played professionally in the A-League with the Minnesota Thunder in 1995 and in the NPSL as a member of the Chicago Power (1994-95). Sanneh has made 41 appearances (3g, 4a) for the U.S. National Team since making his debut on Jan. 9, 1997 against China, and his best work on the global stage came during a striking performance in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. During the U.S.'s record-breaking run in the tournament, Sanneh started and played every minute in all five games, assisted on Brian McBride's game-winning goal in a 3-2 upset over Portugal and earned Man of the Match honors in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss to eventual runner-up Germany in the quarterfinals. Sanneh's arrival in the Windy City reunites him with both Fire President and GM Peter Wilt, who brought the defender to Minnesota in 1995, and Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan, who coached Sanneh as an assistant with both D.C. United and the U.S. MNT.
Razov departs Chicago as the Fire's all-time leader in career goals (76), points (190), game-winning goals (23) and game-winning assists (15) in 155 appearances (138 starts). His 38 assists also rank second behind only Peter Nowak (48). He leads MLS in career multiple goal games (16) and ranks in the top five in goals (T-5th, 77). During his seven-year tenure with Chicago, the UCLA product captured the Fire/Budweiser Scoring Champion title five times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003) while leading the team to seven domestic Cup Finals and three division crowns (2000, 2001 and 2003). The two-time MLS All-Star was the only player in Fire history to record multiple hat tricks (2) and earn multiple MLS Player of the Month selections (March 1999/June 2003). He helped the Fire garner its first-ever MLS Supporters Shield in 2003 prior to the club's third MLS Cup Final appearance.
Preseason Schedule Begins Tomorrow With Meeting at Lake Forest College
No more sleeping in for the "Men in Red," as the Chicago Fire will officially get back to business on Tuesday, Feb. 1, when the 2005 version of the squad meets for the first time at its Lake Forest College training facility. Fire players and coaches will be made available to the media following the session. The Fire will kick off its two-month preseason with a week of conditioning in Lake Forest before beginning a three-week training stint in Bradenton, FL that will include at least five matches, including a recently added scrimmage against FC Dallas on Friday, Feb. 11. Chicago will also travel to Guadalajara, Mexico and Jackson, MS during the preseason before returning to Chicago, where it will open up its last season at Soldier Field against FC Dallas on Saturday, April 2. 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)
Feb. 1 - Feb. 4: Training Camp at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL (Times TBD)
Feb. 7 - Feb. 25: Training Camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL
Mar. 1 - Mar. 11: Training Camp in Guadalajara, Mexico
Mar. 18 - Mar. 26: Training Camp in Jackson, MS
Monday, Mar. 28: Training at Lake Forest College practice facility begins (Time TBD)
Saturday, Apr. 2: MLS First Kick 2005 - Fire vs. FC Dallas at Soldier Field in Chicago, 4:00 p.m. CT
Fire to Kick Off 2005 Season With Fun in the Sun Against FC Dallas
An old rivalry will begin anew for the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Apr. 2, when the Fire will open up its eighth season in Major League Soccer by hosting FC Dallas at Soldier Field. Kickoff at the historic lakefront venue, which was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., has been moved up to 4:00 p.m. CT. The Apr. 2 match will mark the continuation of the Brimstone Cup series against the re-named Dallas franchise (formerly the Dallas Burn) and will also serve as the final home opener for the Fire at Soldier Field, which will serve as the home venue for 16 games in 2005 before the club moves to its permanent home in Bridgeview in the Spring of 2006. The "Men in Red" will be looking to avenge the only two losses in a 3-2-2 record in MLS home openers, both of which have come against Dallas. FC Dallas will bring their new-look team into Soldier Field, which will include newly-acquired forward Cornell Glenn and former Fire 'keeper Henry Ring's return to Chicago. MLS's 10th season will open with First Kick 2005 and a full slate of six matches on Apr. 2, including the highly anticipated first game in the history of Club Deportivo Chivas USA as they play host to MLS Cup champion D.C. United at The Home Depot Center in a match to be broadcast live on ABC Sports (2:00 p.m. CT). The complete 2005 regular season schedule will be released later this month.
Infirmary Update: Pause Undergoes Successful Surgery, Herron to Hold Off
The Chicago Fire has announced that midfielder Logan Pause underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a condition of athletic pubalgia (sports hernia). Dr. Richard Cattey performed the surgery at St. Mary's Hospital in Mequon, WI. The University of North Carolina product is expected to miss the first 4-6 weeks of the Fire's 2005 preseason. Pause developed into a steady force in his defensive midfield position over his first two professional seasons, during which he played in 44 contests (34 starts) and scored two points on a pair of assists, both during the 2004 season. While Pause went under the knife, another member of the "Men in Red," forward Andy Herron will stave off surgery after early reports to the contrary. Herron suffered what was believed to be a torn right meniscus while playing for his native Costa Rica in an international friendly on Jan. 12, but an MRI taken on the knee upon his return to Chicago last week discovered only cartilage damage. The 26-year-old Herron will rehab with the Fire's training staff in the upcoming weeks before deeming if surgery is necessary to repair the problem. In only four appearances with the Fire last season, Herron turned in a virtuoso performance by scoring eight points on four goals, numbers that garnered the striker the Honda MLS Player of the Month Award for October.
Love Hurts! Fire to Host Valentine's Day Blood Drive
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 on 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.
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.
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, the entire Fire coaching staff and President/GM Peter Wilt will 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.