2019 AGM

It’s time once more for the ISA’s Annual General Meeting. Join us on January 19th as we catch up on the year that was and elect a new Section 8 board of directors.

The AGM will be held at Schubas Tavern, with doors opening at noon and the meeting starting at 1pm. We will hear from outgoing chair Dan Giroux on the state of the ISA and then have a Q&A with 2019 board candidates. Following the Q&A members in attendance will vote on the 2019 board.

If you are interested in running for a position on the 2019 ISA, inform vice-chair Nicole Hack of your candidacy, in writing or by email, no later than December 19th.

If you cannot make the AGM but still wish to vote, you can request an absentee ballot, starting on December 19th. For an absentee ballot, request one from Nicole Hack, who will email you the ballot and instructions for mailing it back.

Nicole Hack : Nicole@s8c.org 

Schubas Tavern : 3159 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

An update on ongoing talks with the front office, 11/15

We would like to update the community on the ongoing discussions with the Front Office about the situation with section 101.

Last night 11/15 #cf97 supporters continued talk with the front office. Participants included people from Section 101, The Harlem End and elsewhere throughout Toyota Park. No agreements were reached and talks are ongoing. We will continue to represent the interests of all supporters of the Chicago Fire and keep the community updated as the situation develops.

All Supporters Privileges Suspended by The Fire for 8/11 Match Against RBNY

Today the ISA board was sent the above notice to indicate that all flags, banners, instruments and other supporter activities will not be permitted for the match against the New York Red Bulls on August 11th. While the ISA has suspended the organized support that our volunteers provide to the team, this revocation will affect all supporters and the above items will not be permitted into the game.

This notice was also accompanied by a wave of individual bans to supporters who allegedly entered Section 101 during the match on July 21st. The ISA rejects the premise of these bans as there was never official communication or notice that entry to 101 was prohibited. These most recent actions show the level of distrust and apathy that current Fire management have for their most loyal customers. We are disappointed, though hardly surprised, with this continued breakdown of supporter relations, and will continue to ask for a public meeting to address the current state of the club. We would like answers to why video and photographic evidence was used in this situation but not used in the instances leading to the cancellation of all tickets in Section 101. Until these issues are addressed the ISA will continue the suspension of organized support.

The board would like to reiterate that Section 8 Chicago is an Independent Supporters’ Association (ISA) for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. The ISA is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization run by volunteers through an elected board of directors whose central goal is to represent all Fire supporters. Section 8 Chicago does not have members, nor does it have a structure that facilitates the recognition of “affiliated supporters groups”. The above statement by the Fire reflects that the Front Office continues to misconstrue Section 8’s purpose as an association and effectively bans organized support from any individual entering Toyota Park on Saturday. Such a widespread ban on top of bans of individuals who participated in a peaceful protest is unduly harsh and borders on illegality.

Suspension of all organized in stadium support.

We are disappointed that Fire management refuse to meet with supporters to discuss a solution for all fans. The ISA will be suspending organized support until management agrees to meet with the community regarding ticket holders in Section 101 and recognizing Sector Latino.

At this time tickets can still be purchased for Fire home games through the Section 8 ticket-leap, but those who attend the games should be aware that normal in game supporter activities, such as drums, banners and capos, will not be present at this time.

Regardless of current relations, our support for the Fire remains and we hope all supporters will join us at the Globe tonight to watch the Fire in tonight’s USOC Semi Final.

Today we remember Brandon Kitchens

On this day, eleven years ago, the Chicago Fire community lost one of it’s greatest supporters and most passionate members. Today we remember Brandon Kitchens, president and co-founder of Whiskey Brothers Aught Five.

Brandon was president of one of the Fire’s most passionate supporters groups – Whiskey Brothers Aught Five. He supported the Fire before, during and after his three tours of duty in the Middle East. He left the United States Air Force in May 2007 and started working with Chicago 2016, the organization working to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to the city.

He had planned to attend Northwestern University in the fall of 2007 and begin working toward a Political Science degree. Brandon was easily found on Fire game days as he would stand on the capo-stand and lead chants for his fellow supporters. He used his passion to write a powerful message to fellow Fire fans prior to the start of the 2007 Fire season. His “Stand and Deliver” message has since become Section 8’s creed.

Brandon’s co-founder of wb05, Karl, gives us these words to remember Brandon by on this day.

To those who wish to follow Karl’s advice, we encourage everyone to take the time to read Stand & Deliver today.

Stand and Deliver

Section 8 Press Release regarding Section 101 Ticket Holders

The ISA sent the following release to members of the press today concerning the ongoing issue of ticket holders in Section 101. We once again call upon the management of the Chicago Fire to sit down and meet with supporters to resolve this issue in good faith.

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO REINSTATE BANNED CHICAGO FIRE SUPPORTERS

Chicago Fire supporters groups unite in calls for the Chicago Fire Front Office to restore supporter privileges and revoked season tickets to banned supporters.

 

(CHICAGO, IL) — Following the unprecedented revocation of 200+ season tickets, the supporters groups of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club have united and returned to Toyota Park Saturday, July 21 in an effort to bring awareness to the ban and show their support to the players.

On June 2, 2018, the widely-known Sector Latino (a Barra-style group of primarily-Hispanic supporters who have been a dedicated and passionate presence in Toyota Park since its inception in 2005) was issued a series of sanctions resulting from past conduct violations. The group acknowledged those violations and vowed to adhere to the MLS Fan Code of Conduct henceforth. During that day’s match, an individual allegedly ignited a smoke bomb in the group’s seating section 101. Group leadership of Sector Latino responded by immediately extinguishing the smoke device and attempting to work with Monterrey Security, as well as Toyota Park personnel, to identify the perpetrator(s), which security was unable to do.

Following the match, Chicago Fire Front Office, led by president and GM Nelson Rodriguez, issued a revocation of season tickets for over 200 people whose tickets were located in Section 101, including those not affiliated with Sector Latino or who were not even present at the match. The chance to appeal was offered and quickly accepted, but the process resulted in a revocation of season tickets for the aforementioned, the permanent loss of all supporters privileges and recognition for Sector Latino, and the suspension of ticket-buying privileges from the club for those who had been seated in 101. This move stunned and dismayed a devoted community, both locally in Chicago and across the broader soccer community.

“As independent representatives of all Fire supporters, the ISA [Independent Supporters Association] rejects the discriminatory ban of former ticket holders in Section 101. The actions that Nelson Rodriguez and the Fire management have taken serves only to severely erode the collaborative spirit and trust between supporters and management that this club was built on. We seek a return to the trusting relationship between the community and the team that once made Chicago Fire S.C. a flagship team in a young league,” says Section 8 Chicago chair, Dan Giroux.

Following a month-long boycott, the devoted supporters clubs returned to Toyota Park for the Saturday, July 21 match that saw the Fire take on Toronto F.C. An incident during the match between a season ticket holder and Monterrey Security has again raised concerns among supporters about the security company’s practices and policies. The ISA has requested another formal meeting with the Chicago Fire FO to discuss this event, as well as work toward a resolution for the dedicated season ticket holders of section 101.

  Contact: Dan Giroux  Email: dang@s8c.org Phone: 781-752-8350

S8C Press Release 7 23

Community Responses to Section 101 Ticket Cancellations.

In response to the Fire Management’s decision to issue a ban of an entire supporters section, the Section 8 Chicago board has gathered reactions from the community which can be read below, as well as issuing our own response, which can be read here.

Sector Latino

Today is dark day for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and its Supporters. We are now convinced that the Chicago Fire is a racist administration. One that targeted its Latino Supporters and systematically employed all of its resources to eradicate Sector Latino. No matter if we were the victims of aggression or the aggressors, for which we accepted responsibility. To the Chicago Fire administration, we were deemed always the instigators. Labeled the “ugly ducks” by previous administration, threatened with relocation or dissolution if a season-ticket quota was not met and now denied due process at this charade of a hearing. We request a fair and timely hearing. One in a neutral setting.

 

WB05

WB05 believes in a non-hierarchical distribution of power and engaging in active struggle against racial, sexual, gender, and class oppression. We reject the reactionary exercise of power by the Chicago Fire front office and express our solidarity with Sector Latino/101. We believe Sector Latino/101’s grievances are justified and will withhold our labor and resources from the club until they are resolved to their satisfaction.

 

CF97 Sirens

Several Sirens attended the scheduled meeting at Schuba’s yesterday evening and contributed to a constructive discussion related to the Sector Latino appeal hearing with Fire leadership on Wednesday.

Within the past hour, the Fire front office issued a statement with their decision that Sector Latino is no longer a recognized supporter group and the privileges afforded that designation are permanently revoked, with all tickets issued for Section 101 canceled with refunds pending.

We have been frustrated by the lack of transparency from the Front Office throughout this process, as well as their poor communication and delayed response.

We are deeply disappointed with and extremely disheartened by the actions of the Chicago Fire Front Office. To see a dedicated and passionate supporters’ group so harshly punished as a collective for the actions of one person is highly concerning to the entire community of Fire supporters.

Sector Latino is an important and passionate part of Chicago Fire culture, and this unfair decision should not stand.

We encourage all Sirens to defend independent supporter groups and to consider how we can each communicate that resolve to the Fire organization and to other Fire fans (e.g. boycotts, memes, banners, phone campaigns, etc) – please share your ideas!

Free101

 

Second City Social Club

Second City Social Club Stands with Sector Latino & 101

The members of Second City Social Club are outraged by the front office’s reckless, draconian decision to ban Section 101. It is disappointing once again to see the front office choose excessive punitive measures rather than seeking more constructive solutions and engaging with supporters to resolve issues, or holding Monterrey Security accountable for their inability to do their jobs.

Sector Latino and Sector Musical are an essential part of the Chicago Fire supporter community. Their passion and contributions to the atmosphere are unparalleled. They are constantly innovating, creating new songs and chants, practicing with their instruments week in and week out, traveling 14 hours crammed in a van to sing loud and proud at away matches. Their talent, creativity and spirit make our community better. The presence of Sector and co. in Section 101 allows for loud, proud support for our Men in Red at both ends of the pitch, and for different styles and cultures of support to be proudly represented, which we hope you would respect as a club that claims to value diversity and inclusion.

Enacting a season-long ban on an entire section in this manner for the actions of a few is an overreaction, and one that only serves to harm the club’s relationship with its few remaining few die-hard supporters. And silencing the fans that are the loudest and proudest every week would, most of all, be a grave disservice to the players. We emphasize that we support the members of Sector Latino and additional groups to remain their own independent supporters section within Section 101, and resolve to take action to advocate for the reversal of this decision.

If the front office wants an example of what the club’s future will look like if they ban 101, we can look no further than the June 9th match against New England. The atmosphere was quiet, charmless, less a true club community and more a waystation for Grouponers and AYSO families. What reasonable club would want this?

Second City Social Club proudly stands with our family members in Section 101 and commits to acting in solidarity with our fellow supporters in response to this decision. Football without fans is nothing.

 

Logan’s Squares

We stand with #Free101 because it represents how supporters can band together. The sanctions that were imposed upon all season ticket holders in 101 could be applied to any section based on the actions of a few. Members of Logan’s Squares had their tickets revoked, because like many supporters groups, our members have tickets in many sections. Without concrete support a club is nothing.

 

Husaria

In the wake of recent sanctions against Sector Latino/101, and as fellow migrants, we find the Front Office’s attempt to hide behind the guise of “safety” farcical. Given the shortcomings of Monterrey Security, the Front Office, and MLS in past scenarios—including the labeling of Sector Latino as “criminals disguised as supporters” by MLS’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Security Ray Whitworth—these current actions must be seen for what they truly are, an attempt to homogenize fandom within Toyota Park at the expense of liquidating an independent group of Hispanic supporters. We truly believe that our strength as a community is wholly reliant on our diversity and autonomy as supporters of the Chicago Fire. As such, we cannot in good conscience continue to attend matches or renew season tickets in future years until this solution is resolved in such a way where it is impossible to view the Front Office and league’s actions as xenophobic and hostile to the immigrant roots of this great club. We stand in solidarity with Sector Latino/101 until they stand in justice back where they belong.

Serdecznie,

Husaria Kibice

 

Cider Cunts

Sector Latino is the pulse of our Chicago Fire community. We admire their tenacity, their unity, their ability to project the love and music for the Fire through the stadium and beyond. Through years of weakness, they’ve grown stronger – to show us all how to be better, how to truly live for the eleven men playing with our crest on their hearts.

 

Banter Buddies

Sector is and always will be dedication, devotion, and passion y locura. Noise, voices, mosh pits, and celebrations. Pure support. Each breath in each game is a slice of their love for the club. From 101 to Columbus to Seattle to wherever the Fire take them, en las buenas y en las malas, they are what we all aspire to be. They are so in love with this club that no loss or ban or hardship can ever stop them from supporting. They welcomed us in and made us feel like we were part of their family, right when we moved to 101. They represent the absolute best in fan support and are our Fire family.

 

Ultras Red Side

Ultras Red Side stands in solidarity with 101. We do not agree with a blanket cancellation of tickets and believe it sets a harmful precedent for future interactions between the supporters and the team. #Free101

 

Red Line SG

We’ve spent a lot of time making sure we understood exactly what brought us to this moment. Serious events have taken place and none of this is taken lightly. Protesting would mean giving up one of our greatest joys in life. To do so, we must stand on solid footing.

We strongly state that we are 100% against violence in supporter culture. The fight between SL and Houston supporters is inexcusable, despite the known history and unresolved issues between the groups.

However, the fight isn’t the main issue here. No one disputes its seriousness, but our understanding is that Sector has taken full responsibility for it and that the FO presented them a last-chance probation. The issue is that the chance given was not a fair one.

No one knows who lit the smoke bomb. The section is nominally for supporters and season ticket holders, but there is no enforcement of that. SL aren’t responsible for the actions of every person in 101, nor are they responsible for vetting entrants into 101 for contraband. The burden of proof for punishing an entire group, especially considering the seriousness of the punishment, must fall entirely and unequivocally on the FO. It is not on SL to identify perpetrators and prove they are not SL members.

The FO must establish proof that SL was responsible for the smoke bomb. Otherwise, banning an entire section of people who are trying to rectify wrongs and play by the rules, all because someone was drawn to the (hands-down best) atmosphere and lit off smoke is unacceptable. There is a valiant selection of people that have put a lot of time, passion, and money into this club, through quite the gauntlet of awful seasons and they deserve respect. This is not it.

101 should be reinstated. The FO should think about managing entrants into that section and/or adding more security, but SL has put so much quality energy into a sinking ship that they have earned the 2nd chance the FO has not actually given them.

We will not continue support in Toyota Park until this is rectified.

 

Local 134

Although Chicago Local 134 supports the Chicago Red Stars, we maintain a stake in the quality and culture of supporting for the Chicago Fire. Among Fire supporters we find teachers, we find and share resources, we find fellow Red Stars supporters, and we find friends. Our interactions with Sector Latino this year have demonstrated their commitment to constantly growing support for the Fire, and for soccer supporting in the city of Chicago. Early in the summer, Local 134 members were invited to come spend some time with Sector’s music section, teaching them our chants and learning some of their best practices for making noise in Toyota Park. They were welcoming, they were enthusiastic, and they were above all committed to the team they supported and to the job of supporting them. Their ban is an outright overreaction by the Chicago Fire front office that disregards the complexity of the situation and paints the group with a much broader brush than is appropriate. As a group that struggles each year to grow a strong culture of support for women’s soccer in Chicago, we understand the value of strong support for a team. Alienating an entire group of committed supporters is a mistake that will have a negative and lasting impact on the Chicago Fire.

ISA Response to the banning of section 101.

The recent decision to issue a ticket cancellation to all ticket holders in section 101 is of great concern to the ISA. This community takes pride in our history as a club, and the supporters driven culture that this club was built upon. This culture is founded upon trust between the club and it’s supporters and this trust was breached by the Chicago Fire in their actions against all ticket holders in section 101.

While incidents of violence in supporters culture must be taken very seriously, this most recent incident was not linked to any incidents of violence and feels like a dramatic overreach by the club and only serves to erode the Fire’s most loyal base of supporters. In light of this action, Section 8 Chicago cannot, in good conscience, participate in any activities that 101 has been prohibited from doing. Tickets for the Harlem End will no longer be sold for the June 9th match against New England, and Section 8 Chicago will not be participating in organized support. Harlem End ticket holders can make their own decisions whether to attend the game or not, but the ISA will not provide the organized elements of support that the front office has taken for granted until this is resolved. Once again, we call upon MLS and the Fire front office to produce a list of infractions and punishments for supporters groups to establish the precedent for these actions.

We would also like to stress that our solidarity with section 101 in not contributing organized support to this game does not reflect our level of support for the players or the pride night events on June 9th. Section 8 Chicago is completely committed to our unwavering support of the LGBTQ+ community and anyone with a ticket to the game is still able to attend and support pride night. We will be looking into an appropriate date for Section 8 Chicago to be hosting our communities own pride night in the near future.

Below is the letter sent to both Sector Latino and Section 8 Chicago leadership to inform them of this decision.

Goose Island and Section 8 renew collaboration for 2018

Goose Island and Section 8 Chicago would like to officially announce the second installment of our community partnership, Keller 31. A follow up to last year’s initial collaboration, the 20th Anniversary Black Lager, this Kellerbier symbolizes an alliance between two like-minded organizations that are pioneers in their respective fields. An ode to Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, this unfiltered lager is a crisp, clean, no nonsense beer reminiscent of its namesake’s style of play. One of the oldest Bavarian styles will celebrate one of the most revered Bavarian players to ever take the field as he approaches what might be his final season on the pitch. Brewed utilizing a combination of Bavarian and Midwest Pilsen, Vienna, and Munich malts, German Hallertauer hops, and fermented with yeast from one of Munich’s great lager breweries, this Kellerbier brings together tradition, honor, and passion in a way recognizable to the Section 8 Chicago faithful and Goose Island drinkers alike. We are elated to share this special beer with you as Schweinsteiger’s testimonial approaches. It will be found at Section 8 Chicago partner bars starting August 27th, followed by a Chicagoland draft-only market release and a short stint at Toyota Park.

Sanctions on Away Supporter Privileges

We are disappointed to have been informed that all traveling Fire supporters will not receive away supporters privileges for the upcoming matches against NYRB and TFC. These privileges typically include the ability to bring flags, banners and instruments of any kind into the match.

These sanctions have come as a result of objects being thrown and damage to a bleacher bench that occurred during the MNUFC match on 3/17. Please see the letter below for details.

We are disappointed not to be able to support the Fire to our fullest in these matches, but still encourage Fire supporters to attend these matches with us regardless. If you are traveling to these matches and have questions about what these sanctions mean for you, please reach out to Director of Events Sean Callaghan for further information.