Weekly update: Fans choice

CHICAGO - 17th Annual Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards to be Held Thursday at Hyatt Regency O'Hare
Four members of the Chicago Fire - midfielder Chris Armas, defender Jim Curtin, midfielder Jesse Marsch and goalkeeper Henry Ring - are among the nominees up for awards at the 17th Annual Chicago Sports Fans Choice Awards, sponsored by Sports Profiles Plus, held this Thursday, Dec. 9 at the Chicago Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. Armas, the Fire's captain, and Curtin, the 2004 Fire Defender of the Year winner, join a list of Chicago's most talented athletes among the candidates for Chicago's Most Valuable Player Award. After enjoying a breakout season in net for the Fire, Ring earned his spot on the ballot for the Chicago's Rising Star Award, while Marsch's continued efforts in the community has earned him his second consecutive Humanitarian Award from Sports Profiles.

Support the Supporters by Attending 8Fest at Small Bar on Dec. 16
Section8Chicago, the independent supporters association of the Chicago Fire, invites all fans of Chicago soccer to attend 8Fest, the organization's first fundraising event, at Small Bar, located at 2049 W. Division in Chicago, on Thursday, Dec. 16 from 6:30-10:00 p.m. Doors at the Wicker Park pub will open at 6:00, and the event will feature a Q&A session hosted by broadcaster Kenn Tomasch, with panelists Fire GM Peter Wilt and Chicago Storm Assistant GM Nick Di Benedetto, a silent auction and a raffle featuring prizes from the Fire, Section 8 Chicago and Small Bar. In addition, the music group Ness will conclude the festivities on stage with a concert beginning at 10:00 p.m. A voluntary donation of $15 will be accepted at the door, while raffle tickets - $10 for 5 tickets and $20 for 15 tickets - for select prizes will be made available prior to the event online. Proceeds from this event, and other donations assist Section 8 Chicago to produce banners, flags, and other displays seen at all Chicago Fire matches; plan and promote fan roadtrips to away games; and coordinate between the many varied fan groups that support the Chicago Fire. To purchase raffle tickets or to find out more information on 8Fest, please visit or email Liam Murtaugh at


  • A number of Chicago connections are once again included among the finalists in 11 categories for the third annual 2004 "Best of U.S. Soccer" awards. Fans can fill out their ballots online at through next Friday, Dec. 17. Ginger's Ale House will be looking to beat out nine other finalists and repeat in the "Best Soccer Bar" category, while at least 39,529 Chicagoland soccer fans have good reason to vote for the "Best U.S. Crowd," as that was the number in attendance at the Fire-U.S. Men's National Team Doubleheader at Soldier Field on July 11. Meanwhile, former Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley found his name in a couple of categories - "Best Game Performance" by a player (two-goal performance vs. Grenada on June 13) and the new "Best Fashion Statement" category (for his famed "7" medallion).
  • The annual adidas MLS Player Combine from Jan. 8-11, 2005 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA could double as a Chicago Fire Reserves reunion, as seven of the 66 players invited to the camp were members of the 2004 Central Conference champion-winning side this past summer. Boyzzz Khumalo (Coastal Carolina University), Cameron Knowles (University of Akron), Luke Kreamalmeyer (Bradley University), Julian Nash (Creighton University), Danny O'Rourke (Indiana University), Nick Pollard (Southwest Missouri State University) and Chris Rolfe (University of Dayton) will all take part in the annual event that showcases the best collegiate in advance of the MLS SuperDraft, which takes place on Friday, Jan. 14, 2005 in Baltimore, MD.
  • Four members of the 2004 Chicago Fire Reserves team will head to The Home Depot Center a little earlier, as defenders Drew Moor and Jed Zayner, midfielder Danny O'Rourke and forward Chris Loftus will take part in the 2004 Men's College Cup at the Carson, CA venue this weekend. Moor, Zayner and O'Rourke will represent Indiana University in the first national semifinal this Friday, Dec. 10 against the University of Maryland at 7:00 p.m. CT, while Loftus will suit up later in the evening for the Duke Blue Devils, who take on the University of California at Santa Barbara at 9:30 p.m. CT in the second "Final Four" match-up. Both College Cup semifinals will be televised on a tape delay basis on ESPN2 on Saturday, Dec. 11 (IU/UMD at 11:00 a.m. and Duke/UCSB at 10:00 p.m. CT), while the network will broadcast Sunday's Final live at 3:00 p.m. CT.
  • The Fire and Chicago Fire Juniors would like to congratulate another player from the Fire family that has already reached the peak of collegiate soccer, as midfielder Bethany Barton helped the Wheaton College (IL) women's soccer team capture the NCAA Division III title on Nov. 27. After the two sides finished 110 minutes tied 1-1, it would be Barton, a freshman who played on the Chicago Fire Juniors Girls U-18 side last year, that ended the marathon by sending home the championship-clinching score, giving Wheaton a 5-4 advantage in penalty kicks.

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