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Fire To Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of 1984 Chicago Sting Championship This Saturday

September 23, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

CHICAGO, IL (September 23, 2009) - The Chicago Fire today announced its plans to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago Sting's 1984 North American Soccer League (NASL) championship during a halftime ceremony at TOYOTA PARK this Saturday, September 26, as the Fire take on Toronto FC (7:30 PM CT, My50). Fifteen players and coaches from 1984 Championship squad are expected to attend the ceremony and take part in an autograph session with fans before the match.

"Chicago has a long history of supporting the game of soccer and the Chicago Sting holds a significant place in that history," said Chicago Fire President Dave Greeley. "And this Saturday we will honor the 1984 championship team, unite leaders throughout Chicago's soccer community and provide fans with the opportunity to reunite with some of their favorite Sting players."

The Fire has created a 25th Anniversary Commemorative Sting Poster and the attending Sting players will be on hand Saturday prior to the Fire's match against Toronto to sign the posters in FireFest at Gate C beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Sting players and coaches will be recognized on the field during a halftime ceremony that will include a short video with highlights from the 1984 Championship. Players will also be given a customized Chicago Fire Jersey on the field.

The Fire's gameday program will also feature both the 2009 Chicago Fire Team Photo along with the 1984 Chicago Sting Team Photo.

"I am very excited to see my former teammates this Saturday and bring the soccer community together for this important anniversary in Chicago soccer history," said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas.

Founded in 1975 by Lee Stern, the Chicago Sting enjoyed success throughout its 13 seasons while playing in both the NASL and Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). Their two NASL championships (1981 and 1984) and trip to the MISL playoffs in the 1980/81 season helped cement professional soccer in the Chicago sports scene. The club played at sports venues throughout Chicago during their 13 seasons including: Wrigley Field, Soldiers Field, and Comiskey Park, while playing MISL matches at the old Chicago Stadium and former Rosemont Horizon.

"I want to thank the Chicago Fire organization for honoring the 1984 North American Soccer League Champions, Chicago Sting, on the 25th anniversary of its two game sweep of the Toronto Blizzard for the championship," said Stern. "Those games marked the final season for the NASL, but as history will show it was only the beginning of major professional soccer at the top level in the U.S. And ten years later, with the FIFA World Cup being held in the United States and with the formation of Major League Soccer, the most popular sport in the world now encompasses several million American registered players of all ages."

Former Sting soloist/announcer Wayne Messmer will also be on hand to sing the national anthem prior to Saturday's match.

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