Chicago Fire FC 1997

1997 - Fire FC Team Formation

Founded in 1997 at Navy Pier, on the anniversary of the Great Fire, the Fire immediately tapped into the diverse ethnic makeup of the city. The team brought in Polish players Piotr Nowak, Jerzy Podbrozny, and Roman Kosecki; the Mexican Jorge Campos; and the Czech Lubos Kubik. While all showed their talent while playing for Chicago that first year, American players (Zach Thornton, Chris Armas, C.J. Brown) proved most integral to the Fire’s continued success. Under the club’s first head coach, Bob Bradley—and against all expectations—the team completed the double in its first competitive year, beating D.C. United in the 1998 MLS Cup Final, and defeating the Columbus Crew in Chicago to win the 1998 U.S. Open Cup a week later.