By Frank Bennett Rowder
Guess it’s because of my experience as a former amateur soccer player that I still get my kicks reporting on our city’s professional soccer teams. Although the Chicago Fire is mired in last place, the Chicago Red Stars are vigorously competing against teams in the National Women’s Soccer League, remaining highly competitive and welcoming the announcement that three of its players have been named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team.
They are forward Chrisiten Press, defender Julie Johnston and goalkeeper Jill Ellis. The Rio Olympics Summer Games begin August 5 and end on the 22nd.
But all is not gloom and doom for the Chicago Fire whose management has recently recruited MF Khaly Thiam from Senegal. He played in Hungary last year. Holland’s F Michael Deleeuw has also signed on. Despite its 10th place standing, future expectations are high for the team, which has second year players David Accam, Kennedy Igboananike and Matt Polster on their roster. Both the Red Stars and Fire play their home games at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.
Indoor Soccer: Major Arena Soccer League
The Chicago Mustangs franchise is starting its fifth year and rounds out its international roster with a wealth of outstanding talent from Chicago’s Hispanic Leagues. Look for the players to bounce back during the 2016-17 season. Competing in the MASL IN 2014, the team claimed the Ron Newman Cup and U.S. Open Minifutbul championship that same year. The Mustangs hold their games at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates..
Coming: North American Soccer League
Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass believes there is enough room in the city for an additional soccer team. He may be right inasmuch as there is a move to create a North American Soccer League in the spring of 2017. Locations being looked at include Soldier, Wrigley and US Cellular Fields. Visit www.ChicagoNASL for additional information.
Rowder is a former sports columnist and a former member of the Chicago Journalists Association board of directors.