THE WINDY CITY
Planning on visiting the Windy City for some soccer soon? Chicago is one of America’s premier destinations for art, food, sightseeing, and sports. The City By The Lake is also home to a team with a rich history in Major League Soccer, and we’re here to tell you all about it.
Chicago Soccer City Guide
LEGACY IN THE MIDWEST
The Fire has been in business since 1997 and was part of the first expansion team in Major League Soccer. Named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the team began with instant success, winning both the US Open Cup as well as the MLS Cup, which is still an achievement in which many franchises aspire to earn. Chicago has since won four US Open Cups and been home to talented players and coaches like DeMarcus Beasley and Bob Bradley, as they begun developing into American Soccer Legends. Despite their ups and downs, the Chicago soccer scene has remained strong over the last twenty years, and it has a lot to do with the people cheering in the stands at Soldier Field.
CHICAGO FIRE SUPPORTER GROUPS
The Fire, known for their passionate fan-base, differ from most clubs in that their supporter sections are behind both goals for a greater home-field advantage. With two main supporters clubs and several smaller groups within it’s umbrella, Section 8 is a unique organization that has its own board of directors, who create opportunities for community work, road trips, and tailgates.
The Fire’s original supporters group, Barn Burners 1871 were the first group to be recognized in Section 8 of the old Soldier Field and in the Harlem End of Toyota Park. They would join forces with the Fire Ultras to create the larger Section 8 group. You can find them waving their light blue, red and white Chicago flags in the stands, chanting “Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight.” Because of Chicago’s large Polish population, you’ll find a contingent of fans donned in red and white making themselves known throughout the stadium.
This Latino-led “barra” style supporters group with ten years of history are often seen and heard from behind goal cheering on The Fire. Their status was up in the air for a moment after getting a bit too festive, but they returned in 2019 in Section 101 of Toyota Park with their drums, chants and flags.
What to do on Game Day
There are few experiences that every soccer fan must have before an MLS match in Chicago. Let’s show you exactly what goes down on game day at Soldier Field.
Sights in the City
If there’s one thing you have to look forward to when going to Chicago, it’s the lake and skyline. Soldier Field is full of beautiful attractions along the riverwalk. The South Loop has tons of restaurants, museums, and parks for you to enjoy the day prior to the match, and tailgating is big at Soldier Field. Chicago also is big on Pub To Pitch buses, so you’ll be able to visit one of the team’s pub partners, like The Globe, and enjoy yourself before and after matches.
Photo by Section 8 Chicago
Where to watch?
There’s no place like home, but sometimes the team has to step away from the Emerald City to take care of business elsewhere. We’ll give you the lowdown on where to go to check out The Sounders when they’re on the road.
The Globe Pub
When it comes to soccer viewing in Chicago, it doesn’t get much better than doing it at The Globe. A pub to pitch partner with The Fire, The Globe is an intimate spot with over 300 beers on tap, some great English cuisine, and over twenty TVs for you to check out The Fire, and any other team that may be playing that day. They call themselves “The Worlds Sports Bar,” and they live up to their name.
AJ Hudsons has been around since 2011, and the Lakeview area bar is home to European soccer supporters as well as Fire supporters. With 26 screens, there isn’t a game that can’t be shown within this neighborhood bar. They’ve got a brunch that rivals nearly every spot in town, and over 100 distinct bottled beers.
Pub97 is another official partner of Chicago Fire and is one of the newer bars in the city that gives you access to the beautiful game. They’ve got everything from wings to tacos on the menu. If you’ve got kids or want to play, there’s a field out back that you can kick around on, and a game room that lets you fire up your favorite game system.
The Atlantic is a casual spot near Lincoln Square in the northside of town. They’re an official pub partner with The Fire, and you can find every game they’ll be screening on their site. You’ll also be able to see your favorite European matches from The Atlantic, as they open early and stay up until the wee hours of the morning for international games. Paired with their excellent selection of weekly food specials, it’s always a good time at The Atlantic.
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