Chicago Fire stars Nemanja Nikolic and Bastian Schweinsteiger were voted in as starters for the MLS All-Star game, which takes place Wednesday at Soldier Field. Schweinsteiger will serve as captain.
Soccer fans are going to be in heaven starting this weekend.
Admittedly, Chicago is a Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks town with little fanfare going to soccer. And as well as the Chicago Fire has been playing, if you walk down the streets of Chicago and the suburbs and asked people to name two or three Fire players, smart money is that a large percentage of people will fail that test.
But those in the Chicago area who are passionate about soccer? That’s a whole different story. Some of them could probably name every player on the Fire roster from the last 20 years.
Chicago and Bridgeview will be the centers of the soccer universe for a five-day stretch starting Saturday and those who love soccer should have a lot of fun and those who are marginal fans should be entertained, too. Many of the side events are free.
Some of the festivities include:
(bullet) The PrivateBank Fire Pitch in Chicago will host a viewing party Saturday night and guests will be able to watch Real Madrid against FC Barcelona, the Chicago Fire against Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy against the Seattle Sounders.
(bullet) North Beach in Chicago will host MLS Beach Soccer from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
(bullet) There will be a skills challenge presented by FIFA 18 from 5-to-7 p.m. Sunday at the Private Bank Fire Pitch.
(bullet) The Men In Blazers will host a podcast at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Harris Theater.
(bullet) There is a MLS All-Star Concert at 8 p.m. Monday at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island featuring X Ambassadors.
(bullet)The MLS Homegrown Team challenges Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 team at 7 p.m. at Toyota Park.
(bullet) Finally, the main event. The MLS All-Stars battle Real Madrid at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Soldier Field. The game will be broadcast on FS1, UniMas, TSN and TVA Sports domestically as well as across 170 countries globally.
The Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic were voted in by fans as starters for the All-Stars.
“I know how special it is to compete against Real Madrid,” said Schweinsteiger, and international star from Germany. “I think our players and fans will enjoy the experience.’’
Fire players Dax McCarty and Johan Kappelhof were also selected as reserves.
Other starters are Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto), Miguel Almiron and Greg Garza (Atlanta), Kaka (Orlando City), David Villa (New York City FC), Tim Howard (Colorado), Graham Zusi (Kansas City) and DaMarcus Beasley (Houston).