BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – As the tributes came pouring in for Logan Pause after his decision to hang up his boots, it became clear that the Chicago Fire are losing much more than a player at the end of the season.
Having spent his entire professional career in Chicago, an emotional Pause spoke with typical dignity and consideration as he talked through his time at the club and the individuals who gave him “some of the most amazing, life-giving experiences.”
But the overriding theme from discussions with media members and teammates Friday was that Chicago soccer was losing another iconic figure, and yet another link to a time when success was a regular visitor to the city.
Pause won the 2003 and 2006 US Open Cup titles and the 2003 Supporters’ Shield with Chicago, and was named the team’s MVP in 2010. He’s played in 14 postseason games, most of them when the Fire reached the playoffs every year from 2005-09.
“Obviously it’s a sad day for the club, with having someone like Logan, who has been here for 12 years and been a big, big part of everything that this club is built on,” head coach Frank Yallop told a packed Toyota Park press room Friday. “Although it’s a sad day, it’s one that he’s going to move forward in his career and he’s going to do fantastic in whatever he does.”
Assistant coach CJ Brown also found it difficult to keep his emotion to one side as he commended his long-time teammate on making a tough decision on how to end his playing career.
“I remember past years when we were thinking about what is the Fire all about and they come up with ‘Tradition, Passion and Honor’,” Brown said. “Everybody would sit there and say myself, or Chris Armas or Peter Nowak fit those ideas of what we thought the club was about, but I think Logan is right there with all of that.”
Brown, who was in his sixth year with the Fire when a young Pause joined the club from the University of North Carolina in 2003, is the only player to play more seasons (13 to Pause’s 12) and more games (296 to 281) for the Fire.
That tally makes Pause the longest one-club player still active in MLS.
“The Chicago Fire didn’t just lose a player, but I think the league loses a great player, with the dedication he has to the game, on the field and off the field,” Brown conceded. “While it’s a sad day for the Chicago Fire organization, I think it’s a great day for the Pause family, but hopefully he’ll stick around somehow and help us out and be a voice if he can.”
Sticking around is something that could be on the horizon, but while Pause admitted he had spoken with Yallop and owner Andrew Hauptman, the 33-year-old said he will leave any decisions on his future until after the Fire’s season is done.
Yallop did, however, offer some hope that Pause’s loyalty to the club would be repaid.
“To play that long at one club is unusual, but I get the sense that he never wanted to leave this team, ever,” Yallop said. “The city, the organization, we wouldn’t want you to leave either, so I think it goes hand in hand, when you’re loyal to a team, they take care of you and that’s what we plan to do.”
With his wife Vaneesha and two daughters watching proudly from the front row, Pause concluded: “There’s millions of kids and people out there that would give their life for one day of what we do, and I had the privilege to do it for 12 years.
“To be able to put on the jersey once and be able to step on the field once was more than anyone could ask, but to be able to do it for the past 12 years has been a blessing and a gift.”