Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ten Years Ago Chicago Became Champions

It was ten years ago today that MLS' first expansion team defied historic odds and captured the MLS Cup championship in its inaugural season. The Chicago Fire defeated the only other champion MLS ever knew to that point, DC United, 2-0 in front of more than 50,000 fans in the Rose Bowl. Ten years later, the key members of the organization continue to make their mark in soccer, sports and entertainment in the United States.

Where are they now?

Bob Bradley, Head Coach. Head Coach, US Men's National Team

Mike Jeffries, Asst. Coach. Asst. Coach, Chicago Fire

Denis Hamlett, Asst. Coach. Head Coach, Chicago Fire

Ron Stern, Team Administrator. Director of Team Operations, Chicago Fire

Rich Monis, Head Trainer Athletic Trainer Liaison, Chicago Fire

Peter Nowak, Midfielder, Captain. Asst. Coach, US Men's National Team

Frank Klopas, Forward. Technical Director, Chicago Fire

Chris Armas, Midfielder. Asst. Coach, Chicago Fire

CJ Brown, Defender. Defender, Captain, Chicago Fire

Diego Gutierrez, Defender. Midfielder, Chicago Fire

Jesse Marsch, Midfielder. Midfielder, Chivas USA

Zach Thornton, Goalkeeper. Goalkeeper, Chivas, USA

Jorge Campos, Goalkeeper. Asst. Coach Mexico Men's National Team

Lubos Kubik. Defender. Asst. Coach, US Olympic Team

Roman Kosecki, Forward. Deputy for Civic Platform, Sejm (Polish Parliament)

Francis Okaroh, Defender. Director, Francis Okaroh's Ultimate Soccer Academy

Tommy Soehn, Defender. Head Coach, DC United

Josh Wolff, Forward. Forward, Kansas City Wizards

Manny Lagos, Midfielder. President, Minnesota Thunder

Josh Keller, Midfielder. Director, Formation Sports & Media Marketing

Zak Ibsen, Defender. US National Beach Soccer

Brian Bates, Defender. Youth Coach, Albion SC

Dusty Hudock, Goalkeeper. Goalkeeper, Charleston Battery

Steve Pastorino, Dir. of Marketing. General Manager, US Team Handball Federation

Kevin Spudic, Dir. of Ticket Sales. Director of Business Development, Toyota Park

Dan Garnett, Ticket Manager. General Manager, Toyota Park

Denise Wilmer, Dir. of Community Relations. Manager, Marketing and Planning, Sears

Diana Lopez, PR Manager. VP Communications,CMN Events

Jessica Yavitz, Intern. Dir. of Community Relations, Chicago Fire
Executive Dir., FireWorks For Kids Foundation

There were many others both on and off the field who contributed greatly to this day ten years ago. It was a special year with a very special group of people. We have all moved on to new challenges and we're all fortunate to have taken special memories of that sunny fall afternoon in Pasadena a decade ago. A month from now, i'll be in the LA area again for MLS Cup. It would be great to have Frank, Denis, Mike, Chris, CJ, Diego, Ron and Rich there as well fighting for the Fire's second MLS Cup title.

i remember where i was October 25, Pasadena, California doused in champagne. Do you remember where you were?


M Denise said...

Do I ever... It seems like just yesterday to me. I feel the sun on my head in our rented Chrysler Seabring convertible. I see us walking on the Santa Monica Pier after throwing a few back, west coast style. I taste the bubbly from my first and only locker room celebration. Thanks to whomever made Roman cover up while I was there. My heart jumps remembering how I danced EVERY dance that night and with everyone. I bet Chris Armas' dad asks about me from time to time because we tripped the light fantastic!

Thank you Peter for making me stop to remember. It was truly one of my favorite days. Ever.

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