Section 8 Chicago (S8C) has been informed by the Chicago Fire Soccer Club Front Office (CFSC) that CFSC will be adhering to the MLS ban on banners, flags, and tifo bearing the Iron Front logo henceforth, regardless of the gameday decision made on August 14 when CFSC officials permitted the display of Iron Front imagery.
We vehemently disagree with this policy and again reiterate that we do not believe explicitly antifascist imagery is political in nature. That being said, Chicago Fire supporters need to be aware that that utilizing the Iron Front logo in displays will be considered a violation of the MLS Code of Conduct as a Level 2 offense. We urge that supporters comply with any requests from security or CFSC officials to remove banners, flags, or other materials that contain prohibited imagery.
We met with CFSC officials on Tuesday, August 27 and had requested written confirmation of the policy, which we received today:
“The Chicago Fire Soccer Club enforces MLS’ policy on the Iron Front flag.”
To avoid confrontation with Monterrey Security and disciplinary action or unintentional Code of Conduct violations by supporters who were present at the August 14 match, we ask that you share this information. We firmly believe our supporters should be protected and informed.
Section 8 Chicago would like to send its condolences to Assata’s Daughters as they go through a difficult period in their herstory.
Two weeks ago, during the week of Assata Shakur’s birthday, the City of Chicago seized and bulldozed the group’s home quarters after an arson attempt. Having a space in which to work is vital for AD’s success in educating and mentoring Chicago’s youth.
In the hope of aiding them in finding a new space, the ISA is donating $1000, a product of our Rock Against Racism scarf sales as well as an additional grant from the board. In solidarity, we look forward to the hopes, dreams, and actions that will continue to come from the programs offered by one of Chicago’s most invaluable organizations.
Tickets: DOWNLOAD THE SEATGEEK APP. You will need it for all ticket purchases. Also remember that we are Section 8 Chicago, not SeatGeek customer service. We’re new at this part of it too. Tickets for the Harlem End, 208 and 137/138 are available at $20 each or two for $30. Ticket and scarf packages are still available at $30 in the Harlem End. Ask anyone that’d bought one of these packages. They’re one hell of a deal!
Tailgate: Cider Cunts, one of two SGs profiled this month, are throwing what can only be described as The Most Extra Tailgate brought to you by the three most extra women you know. Expect to see meat waffles (that’s fun to type) with sausage and Colby jack, sweet waffles with dulce de leche and cinnamon apple spread, and vegan waffles with seitan bacon and vegan cheeze.
Merch: HOLY CRAP fresh new pocket T’s are in. They feature the iconic ‘We Will’ design, never before featured on a T-shirt before. Get them before they’re gone (and they will go fast) for just $15 which provides S8C with valuable funds for tifo, bus trips, and other RAD events. Merchman Nate will also have the ever-popular grab bags available as well which gets you suited up with a T-shirt, scarf, koozie, buttons, and more.
Getting to the stadium: The Reggie’s Bus rides on and Pub to Pitch also offers coach bus rides from a wide variety of locations throughout the city. Per city laws, no drinking on the busses (boooo!). Be sure to show our partner bars some love by buying your morning coffee or other beverages before the buses depart.
If you have been around Fire supporters for a while you will often hear people say we were some of the first in the league in many aspects of supporters culture. While that can sometimes be brushed off as misplaced pride from years gone by, it’s worth remembering that Fire fans really did take the lead on many aspects of MLS supporters culture. We led the way with chants and in-stadium coordination. We took the initiative with our non-for profit and community work before many others in the league had even formed cohesive groups. Perhaps more than all of these though, we led the league in design. Fire supporters have been producing great looking scarfs, banners and tifo since before Seattle even invented soccer. I was lucky enough to get to use many of these symbols in my time as Section 8’s in-house graphic designer and again as Chair when we finalized the process to trademark several of them. To commemorate some of this work heading into our home opener, let’s look at some of the most famous pieces of Fire supporter symbols, all designed by Section 8’s original meistro of iconography and minister of propaganda, Liam Murtaugh.
The laurel is about as iconic as S8C iconography gets, perhaps behind only the 8 symbol itself. The laurel has appeared on many mediums over the years, from banners to scarfs to shirts, even on the cf97 challenge coins.
The laurel itself incorporates several classic Chicago design elements. In my eyes, it incorporates the Chicago city flag, the Chicago municipal device, and the city motto so seamlessly it can easily be missed if one doesn’t know where to look. Focusing mainly on the red six-pointed star in the center, the flag takes center stage. The star is surrounded by two thin strips of sky blue, creating a unique take on the Chicago flag while still incorporating all of the major elements. Below the flag is the municipal symbol of Chicago in grey. This municipal “Y” symbol has been in use since 1892, with its three arms symbolizing the three branches of the river.
Outside of the star and stemming from the “Y” we have the green laurel leafs flanking the star on both sides and stemming from the municipal device. Laurel leaves are an ancient symbol of prominence, going back to the heraldry of the Roman Empire, but in the cf97 laurel, they contain a different connection to Latin. With the green of the leaves surrounding the central star of the flag, the design creates a direct metaphor for the city’s motto “Urbs in Horto”, translating to English as “City in a garden”, with the leafs creating a surrounding effect for the star symbolizing the city. Finally, this symbol can’t be appreciated in full without mentioning the cf97 typeface at the top, a supporter-made and owned invention that has become the unofficial moniker for the Fire community, particularly online.
This most encompassing symbol of Chicago Fire supporters, representing the city and its people, has become the closest thing Fire supporters to a universal symbol. Here are some instances of the Laurel in action.
Fire Axe Symbol:
Clean, simple, strong and a reference to the Fire-fighter culture that the team’s name references in part. The axe symbol has been received so well over the years that a strikingly similar design has even made its way onto the Fire’s kits (though I’m not going to get into the legality of that today).
One of my favorite uses of the crossed axes is a subtle appearance in the “Urbs in Horto” scarf. While the scarf is often known for its green coloring, rare for a Fire scarf and great if you like people asking if you are a Timbers fan, half of the axe symbol appears on each of end of the scarf. The result, as demonstrated below by Cider Cunts member Maud Squiers, is the axe symbol is created when the wearer drapes the scarf around the back of the neck evenly. This clever design integration makes the “Urbs in Horto” scarf still one of my personal matchday favorites.
We Will symbol:
The We Will symbol is the last, and probably the least used of the symbols we will look at today. In a bit of a deep cut reference for the Chicago history nerds out there, the We Will design harkens back to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The “We Will” symbol and motto is actually a reference to the symbol and motto “I Will” which came out of a contest sponsored by the wonderfully named, and now defunct, Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper. The contest challenged artists to come up with a slogan and figure that represented “The Typical Chicago Spirit” and the winged figure below with the slogan was the winner.
Section 8 repurposed the motto as “We Will”, a much more egalitarian iteration that fits the communal spirit of soccer supporters better than the ego-driven “I will”. Since it’s repurposing, the “We Will” has made its way onto a few pieces of merch here and there, serving well on both the Section 8 standard scarf as text and the “Schweinsteiger Scarf” (or Schwienscarfer if you will) as the full design.
These symbols are only a few of many that have been created by Fire supporters over the years. The use of Fire colors, city symbols, and uniquely cf97 imagery have created an identity distinct to Fire supporters in North American soccer. This identity is a living, breathing embodiment of what our community is, and if you are sitting at home wondering why we haven’t updated to anything new, well that’s on all Fire fans. Hands are always needed to hold banners, brushes and even pens and pencils to create work like this. If you have a design you feel like represents the community well, reach out and talk to the board. Show up at a tifo build or board meeting and talk to the Ops crew. This community is here for you, but also by you. Don’t wait for your invitation, it’s not in the mail.
Dan Giroux works in design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He formerly served as Chair of Section 8 Chicago and can be seen most Wednesdays at the Globe Pub drinking cheap wine with his WB05 colleagues.
Many of those involved with Section 8 Chicago and in the broader Chicago soccer community choose to express their support for the Chicago Fire by forming supporter’ communities. These communities are as diverse as Chicago Fire fans themselves.
For many, the appeal of forming such communities is being able to gather with like-minded friends and fans as well as attracting new ones based on shared interests. In recognition of Women’s History Month we’re speaking with supporters’ clubs lead by and comprised of women. We spoke to Cider Cunts earlier this month and we conclude with Nicole Hack and several other members of the CF97 Sirens.
Supporters’ Group Name:CF97 Sirens. We want to note that we consider CF97 Sirens is a community of female supporters, rather than a supporters group. We’re inclusive of all women and have no formal membership structure.
S8C: When was your SG founded?
CF97 Sirens: We were founded in 2013, but we didn’t decide on a name until 2015.
S8C: If there is one, what is the story behind your SG’s name?
CF97 Sirens: In 2015, we collectively shared name suggestions and voted on them. Sirens won because it’s an awesome play on words representing both Fire sirens and Sirens of Greek mythology, who were known to lure sailors in with their music and singing voices. We like to think we lure our Men in Red to score a goal with our singing and chanting. Other nominations were: Jane Addams Army, Firettes, Mrs. O’Leary’s Milkmaids, Ladies in Red, and we can’t forget, Ladies in Gradient Blue, a nod to the 2014 Quaker sponsored Fire jerseys.
S8C: Why did you choose to found this SG?
CF97 Sirens: As a long-time Fire supporter, I found myself frustrated by the male-dominance of the culture, especially in terms of dialogue on Fire related supporters forums so I wanted to provide myself and other women a safe space to discuss our love for the team and the beautiful game with other like-minded female supporters. This was my main inspiration, but I also wanted to highlight the work that women were doing in the community and encourage women to participate more and to feel comfortable doing so. S8C: What are your specific interests or focus of the SG?
CF97 Sirens: Our interests or goals as a group are to connect with one another in a female only forum in the hopes that we will inspire, unite, motivate, & encourage one another in a culture that is male-dominated. By providing women a safe space to engage with one another it will hopefully allow us the chance to have a louder voice in the Chicago Fire community. We hope to encourage more women to get involved, come to more games, and we want to continue to highlight Sirens in Chicago Fire’s supporters’ scene.
S8C: What upcoming projects are CF97 Sirens working on?
CF97 Sirens: Our first two-pole is in the process of being made thanks to the work of Moria Dailey Nestmann (S8C Director of Marketing) and others. Several members of our community (Maud Squires, Moria, and Meredith Miklasz) are hosting this Saturday’s tailgate to benefit the Chicago Community Kitchen scholarship initiative Section 8 Chicago is working on this season. We hope to have scarves made in the future. We’re always looking for more women to get involved and help us with charity initiatives, event hosting, or merch designs.
S8C: What are you / your SG most excited about in the upcoming season?
Carmen Norgaard: I’m excited to see what Gaitan will add to the team and how he’ll combine with Nikolic. Carri Alldredge: Being back in the stadium with everyone! Meredith Miklasz: I’m excited about having a bigger presence than ever and trying to involve more women who are new to the love of soccer, not just MLS or Fire games. I’m also excited to be more hands-on and pushing “to the front” where we’re visible. Nicole Hack: As a board member, I am excited to rebuild after the hardships we endured in the 2018 season. I’m also excited to see our creative attack with the team’s new signings. I’m also excited to see how Marcelo and Ousted play in the back
Director of Fundraising Nate has been busy at the outset of the season. New shirts, featuring the iconic We Will design profiled in our must-read design review, will be available at March 30th match in which our Men in Red take on the Harrison New Jersey Energy Bevvies.
These shirts are locally-printed heavyweight pocket tees and are limited in quantity. $15 takes it. More new merch is on the way so be sure to sign up for the 8Track newsletter and follow the Section 8 Chicago Merch account on Twitter.
Many of those involved with Section 8 Chicago and the broader Chicago soccer community choose to express their support for the Chicago Fire by forming supporters’ groups. These groups are as diverse as Chicago Fire fans themselves. For many, the appeal of forming a supporters’ group is being able to gather with like-minded friends and fans as well as attracting new ones based on shared interests.
We’ll be featuring a different group each month, and this month we spoke with Betsy, a founding member of the Cider Cunts.
Supporter Group Name: Cider Cunts Section 8 Chicago: If there is one, what is the story behind your name? Cider Cunts: There was a time period when Section 8 was rife with misogynist rhetoric with women being excluded from certain supporters groups, dealing with Twitter trolls, and hateful targeting of specific powerful women and sisters in leadership positions. The name is a feminist riff on other, more male-oriented supporters groups (Whiskey Brothers, Banter Buddies, etc.) and attempts to reclaim and de-mystify a word typically used by the patriarchy in a derogatory fashion. S8C: When was your SG founded? CC: While it was a running joke from 2014, after the blackout during the 2015 season, there was an incident that included one of the male Fire fans laying hands on me during an argument in the stands. As a result of this, Maud and I were demonized on the Facebook page, mistakenly amalgamated into one person, and called cunts by the men who were confronting us in the stands. So, rather than hiding or backing down, we decided to fight back and reclaim the word as well as our place in the stands. S8C: What are your specific interests or focus of the SG? CC: Smashing the patriarchy, drinking cider, supporting one another and the wider Fire community.
S8C: What upcoming projects is your SG working on? CC: Supporting the Fire for Food Drive and the October 8th Committee and the Malort 5K! S8C: Is your SG hosting any upcoming events? CC: We will likely host a fabulous tailgate that will be extremely well-organized and run by fabulously dressed women. S8C: What are you most excited about in the upcoming season?
CC: Continuing to radically confront dipshits who can’t handle our name.
If you would like to have your supporters’ group featured, please firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
As of this writing, Section 8 Chicago is almost 30% of the way to its fundraising goal for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This fundraising campaign was started during the 2018 season by Marty Tomszak and has been one of the many efforts that are setting a new standard for supporter-led giving throughout MLS.
Section 8 Chicago is pleased to partner with the Greater Chicago Food Depository again in 2019. They provide a valuable service throughout Cook County by distributing the equivalent of 159,000 meals on a daily basis to those in need. Section 8 Chicago takes food security very seriously and believes #No1ShouldGoHungry. Like many throughout Cook County, many members of this community know first-hand the challenges that come with a lack of access to healthy food and are doing their part to help their neighbors.
@JoelBiden, a Chicago Fire fan since ‘98 and former board chair, has stepped up and, in keeping with the DIY spirit of Section 8 Chicago, has put his own unique spin on supporting this fundraising effort. Rather than give a large gift near the end of the season or a small chunk from each paycheck, he’s got 5 on it. We’ll let him explain:
Section 8 Chicago’s support for the Greater Chicago Food Depository began in 2010 with our first Annual Holiday Food Drive and several in-store food collections at grocery stores around town manned by enthusiastic Fire fans. The Food Depository does great work and the Section 8 Chicago food drives have always been something that I’ve been very happy to contribute to and participate in.
I was delighted that Marty took the initiative to start the season-long #FireForFood virtual food drive last year. In an effort to support this #FireForFood campaign and keep the issue of food insecurity visible over the course of the season, I wanted to find a way to make giving a fun and repeatable activity and a novel way to encourage Fire fans to participate in a positive fan-driven initiative. Issuing an online challenge tied to every game seemed an obvious choice.
The I Got 5 On It Challenge is an easy way to donate to the #FireForFood virtual food drive and stay engaged with the performance of the Chicago Fire and celebrate goals. The challenge is simple, for each Fire goal scored, donate $5 to #FireForFood.
In the 2018 MLS Season, the Chicago Fire scored 48 goals. That resulted in a $240 donation. By breaking the donation into small frequent giving I am certain that I gave more than I would have given in one donation, since it was so budget friendly and easy to manage. The numbers tell the story, for each person who participated in the I Got 5 On It Challenge 1200 meals were provided by the good folks at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
By making this pledge in 2018 I found that in addition to the satisfaction knowing that my small and frequent donations were helping out folks experiencing food insecurity, I was tracking every goal, focusing on who scored it and how. I found myself more engaged with what the Chicago Fire were doing on the field, excited to see how many goals I would be celebrating with a donation. I came to relish a post game ritual that I came to know as Click.Give.& Chill. I’d hit play on the Luniz hip hop classic I Got 5 On It, make my donation and draft up a fun announcement to share the news on twitter.
Catchy tune, good cause and Fire goals. That’s good stuff, right? So I’m glad to do it again this year and will be sending out reminders and the #FireForFood virtual food drive link for every game. I hope Fire fans, staff, and even players can join in this Challenge, have some fun celebrating our Club’s achievements and helping our neighbors in need.
Click here to make a contribution to the Fire for Food 2019 campaign today!
Matchweek 3 sees the Chicago Fire against that team from Seattle (aka the old Atlanta). Excitement for the team is building with the Fire coming off of a late equalizer from CJ Sapong and Section 8 Chicago will be at the stadium bright and early preparing for the match, slinging dogs, and selling merch.
Tickets: Tickets for the Harlem End, 208 and 137/138 are available at $20 each. Ticket and scarf packages are available at $30 in the Harlem End. Ask anyone that’d bought one of these packages. They’re one hell of a deal!
Tailgate: Once again, Section 8 Chicago is hosting this early season tailgate providing tubed meat delights (Chicago style, duh). Vegan options, verified by two real-live vegans, are also available. For those of you 21 and up, donations to the Food Drive often can elicit a thank-you beverage from friendly community members. Would you or your supporters club like to host a tailgate? Dates are available. Get at a board member or email us.
Getting to the stadium:
The Reggie’s Bus rides again. Single rides and season passes are available. Check out their totally awesome scarves too. Pub to Pitch also offers coach bus rides from a wide variety of locations throughout the city. Per city laws, no drinking on the busses (we’re upset by this too, trust us).
Merch Director Nate will be kicking it at the S8C tailgate near the Pods. Heavyweight crew neck sweatshirts were clutch last match. We also will have the distinctive Full Power HD, Niko, and other fresh scarves. Come see us. Cash and credit accepted. Keep your eyes on Section 8 Chicago’s merch Twitter for teasers and updates on the new stuff coming in soon. We’ve seen the designs, they’re going to be very Rad.
It can’t be worse than last week, right? RIGHT? Looks like we’ll dodge the rain as of this writing but last week’s match was a reminder that it always feels colder out at 71st and Harlem. Take it from this writer, longjohns and gloves with full fingers will be in full effect. Also, pro-tip: you can get sunburned even when it’s cold. It looks like it will be sunny.
The Chicago Fire’s home kickoff of the 2019 campaign is this Saturday, March 9 at noon. Section 8 Chicago is offering ticket deals, season ticket deals, a tailgate with tubed meats and non-meats, and much more. Whether this is your first match of 500th, here’s the info you’ll need to make it all happen.
Tickets: We’re offering single match tickets for $20 or a ticket AND a scarf for $30. These are first-run scarves and not dusty old deadstock. This is at least a $40+ dollar value. On top of that, it’ll also be cold. Don’t catch a cold, wear a scarf!
Tickets for 137/138 are also available through our Ticket Leap site. Proceeds benefit Section 8 Chicago and Sections 137/138.
Season tickets are still on sale at last year’s price. Call your ticket rep today!
Section 8 Chicago will be providing Chicago dogs (vegan too!), chips, and likely some refreshing beverages. A five dollar suggested donation gets you fed and provides valuable funds for the ISA’s operations like tifo funds, subsidized bus trips, and other expenses. The tailgate is located in the east lot. Look for the POD storage units. All are welcome!
Getting to the stadium:
Drive if that’s your thing. No wheels? No problem. Check out the Reggie’s Bus. Single rides and season passes are available. Pub to Pitch also offers coach bus rides from a wide variety of locations throughout the city.
We will have it! Look for Merch Director Nate at the S8C tailgate near the Pods. Crewnecks have been by far the hottest item of the year and are going fast with their two-sided print on a classic Hanes heavyweight crew. We also will have the distinctive Full Power HD, Niko, and other fresh scarves. Come see us. Cash and credit accepted.
We’re still working on getting Tom Skilling to write this section but, for now, a quick scan says this one could get a little damp towards the end of the match. Temperature looks to be in the upper 40s. Bring rain gear and some lip balm – Seat Geek Stadium is in an unusually windy microclimate.