CHICAGO, IL - The Chicago Fire has announced that a pair of Chicago baseball's biggest personalities - Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano - will serve as honorary coaches during the Fire's "United by Soccer" media scrimmage on Thursday, Sep. 1 at Moody Bible College at Oak/Wells in downtown Chicago. Hosted by the Fire, the soccer scrimmage is open to members of the Chicagoland media and is set to kick off at 10:00 a.m. CT, with the Fire's practice session to follow at 11:00 a.m.
Media members that would like to participate in the contest are asked to contact the Chicago Fire Media Relations Department at 312-705-7272 prior to Wednesday, Aug. 31. Media are invited to stay for the Fire's training session afterwards, as the club will be in preparations for its Labor Day weekend clash at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, Sep. 4 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA (7:00 p.m. CT, live on Comcast SportsNet).
"We're very excited at the thought that soccer and the Fire will bring together two of today's most accomplished baseball figures such as Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano, as well as some of Chicago's most prominent media members," said Fire President/CEO John Guppy. "I'm looking forward to a great time and a great match."
The media scrimmage will consist of two 20-minute halves and a 10-minute break between each half. All participants are asked to arrive early to take part in a warm-up session prior to the scrimmage. The Fire will provide the participants with a playing shirt, however, media are asked to bring their own playing shoes.
Known for his infectious and outgoing personality, aggressive attitude and a seemingly endless bank of energy, Guillen - a lifelong soccer fan - is now in his second season as manager of the White Sox, where he spent the first 12 of his 16 seasons in the major leagues as a player. The 41-year-old Guillen has quickly turned around the fortunes of Chicago's south side ball club, leading the White Sox to an American League best record of 79-49 and a likely spot in the postseason for the first time since the 2000 season.
"I want to thank the Chicago Fire for the opportunity to participate in this event," Guillen said. "Soccer in my country is very important, especially with the way the Venezuelan team has played as of late. Soccer was an important part of my childhood because all we needed was one ball, and 20 guys in my neighborhood could play."
The Caracas native, who won a World Series ring as the third base coach of the Florida Marlins in 2003, ranks in the top ten of numerous career statistical categories for the White Sox, including games played, at-bats, hits and runs scored. After garnering the 1985 American League Rookie of the Year Award with the White Sox, Guillen would display his hustling style of ball in Chicago until 1997 before ending his big league career with stints in Baltimore (1998), Atlanta (1998-99) and Tampa Bay (2000).
The competitive Zambrano has established himself as one of the National League's rising stars on the mound and is having another great season for the Cubs, going 11-5 with a sparkling 3.04 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 27 starts so far this season. Zambrano's performance during the first half of this season led to him being named to the National League squad for the 2005 MLB All-Star Game in July, marking the first such honor of his career. Despite being just 24 years old, Zambrano is already in his fourth full season in the major leagues, during which he has compiled a 44-34 record and 3.20 ERA. The native of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela is an avid soccer fan and has already been to Soldier Field twice this season to attend a pair of Fire matches earlier this summer.
For more information on the scrimmage or to participate, please call 312-705-7272.