CHICAGO, IL - The Chicago Fire has announced that the team will take on the MetroStars in the first Inaugural Day exhibition match at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York on Monday, Oct. 11. Kickoff for the match is set for 12:30 p.m. CT at the Hall of Fame Campus on At-a-Glance Field. The match is part of the festivities surrounding the induction weekend that will see former MLS and Chicago Fire forward Eric Wynalda and former L.A. Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri - enshrined as the League's first Hall of Fame inductees.
"MLS is pleased to begin this new Induction Day tradition together with the National Soccer Hall of Fame," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "The election of Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri in 2004 as the first MLS players to join the Hall of Fame is a sign of the League's growing soccer legacy in the United States and we are proud to celebrate it with the annual Hall of Fame Game."
Soccer in America entered a new era with the announcement of the 2004 Inductees - Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. National Team star Paul Caligiuri, the U.S. Men's all-time leading scorer and MLS standout Eric Wynalda, and FIFA Women's Player of the Century Michelle Akers.
Wynalda is the all-time leading scorer in U.S. National Team history and also scored the first goal in MLS history on Apr. 6, 1996. Wynalda began his MLS career with San Jose before joining the Miami Fusion (1999-2000), New England Revolution (2000-2001) and Chicago Fire (2001), amassing 98 appearances and 34 goals. He joined MLS after an illustrious career for the U.S. National Team (1990-1998) in which he netted 34 goals. During his short tenure with the Fire (2001), the two-time MLS All-Star appeared in 21 games for the "Men in Red," tallying a team-high 25 points on 10 goals and five assists and eventually being crowned the 2001 Chicago Fire Budweiser Scoring Champion.
"This is a great opportunity to recognize the history of the game and for the Fire to thank Eric for his contributions," said Chicago Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan.
Tickets for the game are $18 (bleachers) and $12 (lawn) in advance, or day of game at $20 and $16 respectively. Tickets are on sale now at the Hall of Fame or by calling 607-432-3351x207.
"We are very excited about the next step in Hall of Fame history. We add Major League Soccer to the roster of U.S. National Teams and the WUSA who have played here in the past," said Will Lunn, President/CEO of the Hall of Fame. "We thank MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his support of this event and Chicago Fire General Manager Peter Wilt and MetroStars President Nick Sakiewicz for their commitment to bringing their teams to Oneonta to celebrate the induction of the new Hall of Famers. Certainly we are especially pleased Chicago is here to recognize the induction of former Fire player Eric Wynalda."
Located in Oneonta, NY, the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a new 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art museum in 1999. The Hall of Fame tells the story of soccer in America through artifacts, photographs, and video clips. The new Hall features an extensive interactive, youth oriented Kicks Zone where visitors have fun kicking, heading and playing computer trivia stations and video soccer games. The VideoWall portrays some of the greatest moments and the greatest goals in history as well as live soccer action with World Cup, MLS, US Soccer and WUSA matches. The mission of the National Soccer Hall of Fame is to celebrate the history, honor the heroes, inspire the youth and preserve the legacy of soccer in the United States.