Chicago Fire officially announce Soldier Field move

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Fire soccer team officially announced Tuesday a move back to Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Chicago Fire has dedicated fans that have been able to watch the team for the last 14 seasons at a 20,000 seat stadium in Bridgeview. Now with new owner Joe Mansueto taking over the team, they believe they can grow that fan base to fill a stadium three times as big at Soldier Field.

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"Chicago is the greatest sports town in the world, and I am thrilled to welcome the Chicago Fire back home to Solider Field, giving families in every one of our neighborhoods a chance to cheer for their team in the heart of our beautiful downtown," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "From arts, culture, business, sports, and entertainment, Chicago is second to none in creating a dynamic destination for residents and visitors alike, and I look forward to many years of exciting Chicago Fire soccer to come."

The Park District commissioner and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber celebrated the news Tuesday morning as well.

The Fire moved from Soldier Field to Bridgeview in 2006 after the opening of the stadium that was then known as Toyota Park. The Fire will open the 2020 season on March 21 against Atlanta United FC.

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Last month, Andrew Hauptman sold his controlling interest in the MLS team to Joe Mansueto. Mansueto took out a full page announcement in the Chicago Sun-Times, saying his goal is to deliver a world class team worthy of the city and one that represents all of Chicago.

"Our Club needs to be located centrally where all of Chicago can enjoy it," said Chicago Fire Owner & General Manager, Joe Mansueto. "Soldier Field is the perfect location. In my view, part of being a world-class city today is having a professional soccer team located downtown. You see what's happening in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Their Major League Soccer teams are bringing their cities together and have become an important part of the cultural fabric of the city. We will make that happen for Chicago too."

Coincidentally, the announcement is taking place on the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871.
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