What I don't know about the game of soccer would fill an
encyclopedia, however, I did make a promise. My 5-year-old played
soccer for the first time this spring and begged to see a "real"
game. Luckily, since Chicago is home to Major League Soccer's
Chicago Fire, we had only to await the next home stand.
Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire.
Midfielder Marco Pappa and the Chicago Fire
dazzled Alena's boys.
I had heard from friends that Fire games were especially fun for
kids, with activities and games provided by the team. Before every
game, kids can visit the "Fire Zone" to race through an inflatable
obstacle course, try their hand at penalty kicks or goal tending
and climb aboard a real fire truck. The team's mascot, Sparky,
makes frequent visits and happily poses for pictures.
My sons were so ramped up by the time we took our seats that I
feared they wouldn't be able to sit still.
I should not have worried as soccer games are not really for
sitting. Team introductions commence with a rousing fireworks show.
Huge screens and loud music get the crowd fired up. Then each team
member enters the field holding the hands of young soccer players.
Youth players unfurled the American flag and played a mini game
during half-time, excellent ways to honor the popularity of youth
While we didn't understand some of the nuances of the game, it
moved fast enough to keep us engaged. We were surrounded by avid
fans who knew good calls from bad, clueing us in to how and when to
cheer. Best of all, the team has a devoted musical cheering section
who chant, sing, play instruments and keep the crowd "in the
moment" for the entire game. They were as entertaining as the game
The Fire's home turf is Toyota Park in southwest suburban
Bridgeview. Parking at the stadium is $17 and food and drink are
outrageously expensive, so prepare yourself. The Fire offers a
Family 4-Pack for $79, which includes admission, four hot dogs and
four sodas. At a $61 savings, this is a great deal for a fun night
of professional sports in the city.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.
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