CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Fire FC and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday announced a plan to return soccer fans to Soldier Field when the team’s season begins on Saturday, April 17.
The Fire will play the New England Revolution in its opening match that day.READ MORE: Family Escapes House Fire In Brighton Park
Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health worked with Major League Soccer and Chicago Fire FC to evaluate capacity protocols and ensure safety.
“One of the most exciting parts about our city being able to safely reopen is regaining our ability to get back to Soldier Field to cheer on beloved teams such as Chicago Fire FC,” Mayor Lightfoot said in a news release. “This announcement was made possible by the many months we have spent planning, strategizing and evaluating how to welcome fans back into the stands and we will continue to work in close partnership with the Chicago Fire FC team to prioritize fans’ health and mitigate risk.”
Initially, the 100- and 200-level sections of Soldier Field will be opened, and spaced to maintain social distancing between each seating pod. Chicago Fire FC will be able to increase attendance to up to 25 percent of Soldier Field’s capacity.READ MORE: Protesters Pack Logan Square Over Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo
Masks will be required for all fans unless they are eating and drinking at their seats, and social distancing will also be required in all concourses and public areas.
“Today is an exciting day for the Club,” Fire FC Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto said in the release. “We’d like to thank Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B. Pritzker for their leadership and guidance throughout the past year. We are looking forward to April 17, when fans will be able to cheer on the team in-person at Soldier Field. We welcome all Chicagoans to come see a game this year.”
“Fans are what it’s all about,” Fire Head Coach Raphael Wicky said in the release. “We train hard and play hard for you. What’s beautiful about football is our fans are from all walks of life. This is a sport that brings people together and we can’t wait for our supporters to be cheering us on at Soldier Field. We’re going to need them too. They’re the home field advantage that is so crucial in sports. I can promise our fans that every player on our team will give their all to make you proud.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Rising Temperatures Through The Weekend But Snow Possible Next Week
Chicago Fire FC ticketholders were set to receive an email later Wednesday about how to reserve seats for the April 17 match.