Last night, the Center for New Community joined Chicago’s Soccer Heritage Night at the Odeum Convention Sports & Expo Center, home of the Chicago’s newest professional sports team, the Chicago Riot of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
The Center for New Community displayed a banner with the message, “On the Pitch- In the Stands – On the Streets – WE ARE ONE – The Beautiful Game is for EVERYBODY.”
The Soccer Heritage Night was a huge success. Chicago soccer players past and present were honored and received a huge ovation from the crowd.
The Riot lost a tight 15 to 10 game against the Baltimore Blast. After the match the Center for New Community and friends took to the field for a photo-op with Riot players. The banner was then photographed with CJ Brown, former captain of the Chicago Fire. Brown was a member of the Chicago Fire’s inaugural team in 1998 which won not only the Major League Soccer championship but also the U.S. Open Cup in its first season. CJ has also played for the US men’s national team.
In the past few years, a number of racist incidents have occurred at professional soccer games in the U.S.
In Chicago in 2008, fans participated in one of the largest protests in U.S. sports history when they spoke out against the harassment of Latino fans at Toyota Park, the home of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.
In the light of this history, the Center for New Community felt a banner recognizing soccer as a sport for everyone, regardless of race, class, or ethnicity was an important message to bring to Soccer’s Heritage Night.