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One only has to look up at the wall in the Toyota end of the stadium to see the names of those who built the proud history of the Chicago Fire. Begun in 2003 the Ring of Fire has served as a way to honor the greats who have left their massive imprint on the club. As the Fire begins its 20th anniversary celebration fans begin to become nostalgic about the greats that have come before. All the while anticipating the future greats yet to write their name in the pages of Fire history.

The Ring of Fire is the Fire’s unique Hall of Fame. It honors those whose contributions have mad the club successful. Peter Nowak the original Fire Captain became the first member in 2003. Nowak who wore #10 played for the team from 1998-2003. He helped the team to the double, winning the MLS Cup and the Open Cup in their inaugural season. The previous members elect the new members. Nowak then chose Chicago Native, Fire forward Frank Klopas, inducted in June 2004. Klopas who wore number 41 played for the Fire from 1998-1999. He is best remembered for scoring the Golden goal in the 1998 Open cup Final in overtime against the Columbus Crew to complete the double. Klopas has also served the club as a Coach and Technical Director. He now is a member of the Fire Broadcast team. Defender Lubos Kuik earned the honor in 2005. Kubik was MLS defender of the year in 98. In 2006 the honor went to original General Manager Peter Wilt, who along with 2007 inductee Coach Bob Bradley built one the winningest teams in Fire History. In 2008 the honor went to Chris Armas. Armas played for the Fire from 1998-2001. He was a seven time MLS All Star. In 2012 one of personal favorites long time Fire defender C.J. Brown. Brown was a six time champion starting for the Fire 372 times. While I have so many good memories of Brown, my favorite came at his retirement party when he said “I knew it was time to retire when I was up for the fair play award. Brown was well known for his frequent yellow card bookings as he played with a great passion. In 2015 Ante Razov was inducted. Razov played for the Fire from 1998-2004, starting in 138 games and scoring 76 goals. Who will add their name to the Ring of Fire next? Perhaps Long time fire Stalwart Logan Pause who spent his whole playing career with the Fire. Upon his retirement he became a vice president and assistant coach.

While many of the greats have been honored there still are many who have worn the badge that have not received the honor but have made significant contributions to the club. One is Zach Thornton, the first Fire Goal Keeper who manned the nets for nine seasons and backstopped the Fire to the double in 98. As the Fire look forward who will leave a Ring of Fire imprint on the team? Will it be David Accam, Michael deLeeuw, or a rookie who has just begun his journey? The memories yet to be made of the greats who will put on the fire badge. As Ante Razov said at his Ring of Fire induction “I kiss only one Badge.”

 

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