CHICAGO (May 26, 2023) – Chicago Fire FC today announced the launch of the Play Proud League as a new addition to the Chicago Fire Rec Soccer (CFRS) lineup. The league launches in conjunction with Common Goal’s Play Proud initiative, a grassroots program that works with all stakeholders in the soccer industry to make society and stadiums a safer space for the LGBTQ+ community, their families, and friends. The Play Proud League officially begins play on June 28, 2023 on the Fire Pitch. Interested participants can sign up for the Play Proud League at chicagofirefc.com/cfrs/playproud.
Chicago Fire FC Play Proud League is an inclusive, physically and psychologically safe space created for LGBTQ+ individuals, friends and allies to compete and build community. Whether you’re a soccer fan or have never kicked a ball before, Play Proud League is a place where everyone can be authentic and enjoy the beautiful game.
“As a Chicago professional soccer team, we strive to be a leader in creating more access to the sport, which is why Chicago Fire Rec Soccer is launching the Play Proud League with the support of our partners at Common Goal,” Chicago Fire said. FC. Executive Director, Community Soccer, Lee Hannant. “A core belief of the Fire is that everyone is welcome in football and our Club is open to all. As an organization, we want to make sure that our matches, facilities, and programs create a safe space for our supporters, the LGBTQ+ community, and allies.”
The inaugural season of the Play Proud League will begin on June 28, 2023 and will take place on Wednesdays through August 16. Games will be played weekly at the Fire Pitch, located at 3626 N. Talman Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60618, with eight guaranteed games per team, plus playoffs. All levels of play, from recreational to advanced skill level, are welcome to join the Play Proud League. Teams will receive a Play Proud League pride jersey, as well as complimentary tickets to the Chicago Fire’s Pride Night Celebration game on June 10 against Columbus Crew SC. In addition to playing opportunities, as part of the Play Proud League, Chicago Fire Rec Soccer will offer coach and referee certification to ensure the league has year-round impact at all levels of the game for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. The Play Proud League joins the Fire’s various efforts throughout the year in support of the LGBTQ+ community, including at the local level through Chicago Fire Foundation partner organizations, as well as through the Chicago Fire Foundation’s adult and youth community programming. Fire.
The Fire will celebrate the Club’s annual Pride Night at Soldier Field on Saturday, June 10 during their home game against Columbus Crew SC. As part of Pride Night, players from the Play Proud League will receive a complimentary match ticket and will join FC Pineapple, a group of Chicago Fire Rec Soccer supporters who help connect the CFRS community to the Pride Night experience. Chicago Fire FC matchday at Soldier Field – in unity. The Fire hopes to create a spirited night of unity, inclusion and celebration of what makes us all unique. Throughout the evening, Pride Night will feature special events, a flag draw, and activities planned to recognize the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to soccer and beyond. Participants wishing to participate in the Pride League and Party will need to register by June 9 to secure their tickets.
Chicago Fire FC became a founding partner of the Common Goal anti-racism project in 2021, to address the structural and systemic issues that make soccer inaccessible and unwelcoming to marginalized communities. Expanding on its relationship with Common Goal in 2022, Fire has joined the Play Proud initiative, which trains reception staff, support groups, coaches and community organizations on how to lead with integrity, enabling honest, trust-based conversations about homophobic, biphobic and transphobic incidents and offer a credible and transformative model for addressing discrimination in the stands, on the field and in the boardroom. Representatives of the Chicago Fire participated in an intensive 10-day Play Proud residency training program, joining teams from Major League Soccer (MLS), National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), United Soccer League (USL), United Soccer League Championship ( USL Championship), Liga MX, and the Canadian Premier League (CPL) to complete more than 100 hours of training with the goal of addressing inclusion at all levels of soccer, dismantling systemic barriers, and providing anti-bias education.
Chicago Fire Rec Soccer (CFRS) is the largest provider of adult recreational soccer in the Midwest. Each season, CFRS organizes more than 40 leagues for more than 4,000 players in 350 teams. Program offerings are available for all skill levels, including year-round men’s, women’s and co-ed leagues, in full and small formats at the Club’s world-class Fire Pitch facility, as well as other sites throughout the city. The mission of CFRS through Adult Soccer Programs is to provide more opportunities for adults 18 and older to enjoy the beautiful game through world-class programming, unique game day experiences, watch parties , coach and referee licenses, and more to help support Chicago’s soccer ecosystem for years to come.
For more information and to register for the Chicago Fire FC Play Proud League, visit chicagofirefc.com/cfrs/playproud. Tickets for the June 10 Fire Pride Night game against Columbus Crew SC are available to purchase here. The match will stream on Apple TV+ and will air locally in English on 890 WLS-AM and in Spanish on TUDN 1200 AM.