cf97 Design Review

From: Dan Giroux

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.

cf97 Laurel:

cf97 Laurel

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.

Where’s your challenge coin?

 

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).

http://www.soccer365.com/chicago-fire-reveal-201617-home-kit/
Photo from Soccer365.com

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.

Hi Maud!

We Will symbol:

We Will

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.

From the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

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.

 

Basti's scarf

On sale at every tailgate

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. 

Supporters’ Club of the Month: CF97 Sirens

CF97 Sirens Logo

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.

Sirens celebrate Chicago Fire Soccer Club’s 20th Anniversary

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.

Sirens at Chicago’s 2018 Pride Parade

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.

Sirens tailgating in March 2019

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 

Connect with CF97 Sirens on social media:

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook Page | Facebook Group (women only!)

New shirts!

From the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

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.

New shirts!

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.

Supporters’ Group of the Month: Cider Cunts

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.

Inked up!



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 e-mail moria@s8c.org for more information!

I got five on it

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.  

Joel

@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!

Supporters’ Group of the Month: Black Fires

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 supporters’ clubs. These clubs are as diverse as Chicago Fire fans themselves. For many, the appeal of forming a supporters’ club 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 new club every month and are thrilled to kick this off with one of the newest clubs on the scene, Black FiresFounder of Black Fires, Jake

We spoke with Jake Payne, founder of Black Fires about the group, their focus, and their upcoming watch party at Reggie’s (2105 S. State Street) on February 23 for the final match of the Carolina Cup which sees the Chicago Fire take on the Charleston Battery. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. but festivities start at 6 p.m. on the Reggie’s Rooftop Deck (fear not, it’s heated!), featuring drink specials and of course, the match streamed live. There will be a raffle to benefit My Block, My Hood, My City featuring game-worn player gear and more. Black Fires will also be debuting new merch soon, including their Black Heritage Scarf shown below. 

What is your club’s name? Black Fires

What is the story behind your SG’s name? We’re celebrating black culture and we like the Fire.

When was your SG founded? We really got together around September 11, 2018. That’s at least when we made our purpose statement.

What upcoming projects is your SG working on? Right now we’re focused on our Black History Month event at Reggie’s. After that, we want to have buses that go to the pitch from Southside buses.

Why did you choose to found this SG? We saw how other supporters groups celebrated their heritage, like Polish and Latinx/Hispanic [focused groups], and brought those elements into supporters’ culture. Black culture hasn’t had that same opportunity to do that so we got together to start that in Chicago. We also want other black fans to have a place to go and avoid the “only black person in the room” syndrome that we’ve felt and to give black fans the same voice that other groups have in the Fire community.

What are the specific interests or focus of the SG? We want to open things up for black fans all over Chicago, do initiatives on the South and West side, give back to black charities, and celebrate Black culture. The dream is to have our own Black Fires chant and two poles. We really want us to have the same prominence as Sector Latino and Red Line.

What are you / your SG most excited about in the upcoming season? We just want to get started growing and getting new fans into the stadium and growing the connection with existing fans.

 

Big thanks to Jake for taking the time to speak with us. We’re excited to see what the future holds. Stayed tuned next month for a new featured supporters’ club.

 

Section 8 Chicago in the Community: #GivingForGoals & #SupportYourLocal

via Moria Dailey Nestmann 

Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.

Second City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate, the newest benefactor of their yearlong #GivingForGoals and #SupportYourLocal initiatives.

We talked with Reuben Hussman of the Second City Social Club and Jake Peters of Logan’s Squares to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.

First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:

Reuben Hussman: Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.

Jake Peters: In 2014 Logan’s Squares was born of a gap in our network of supporter bars. At the time the Logan Square community area had the largest number of Chicago Fire season ticket holders, but no bar where any of those fans could get together with one another to watch the game. Myself and a few of those fans scoped out a series of bars that barely gave us the time of day until we found out fellow fan Jay Eychaner was watching games at ‪Go Tavern‬ (3219 W. Armitage) where we found a home with a staff & owner who are as dedicated to this community as anyone.

Tell us about your community-building initiative:

RH: SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus on doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that, we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.

Jake Peters & Nate Cubeta outside of GO Tavern

JP: Having a local bar to gather has been entirely about building a community at a grassroots level. Everyone is welcome at Go (if you’re over 21) and we try to foster a space where fans can come to watch a game together even if they have a grudge against one another. Over the past 6 months, we have evolved that into efforts to raise money collectively for local causes. Credit is due to Juan Velasquez (our Silver Foxes rec soccer league captain), Dan Giroux (current ISA chairman & one of the first Squares), Nate Cubeta (current ISA Director of Marketing), & Jake Payne (current ISA Director of Communications). They have all guided this expansion in giving, identified groups, & come up with creative ways to raise these donations, whether through going to fundraisers w/ fellow fans (raising money for defending Chicagoan DACA recipients from ICE), or selling a “jersey sponsorship” for a charitable donation to The Young Center. This has culminated in the #SupportYourLocal button campaign as a way to build upon #GivingForGoals & other supporter-led initiatives, buttons have a long history in our community & this is merging that w/ local giving.

Continue reading “Section 8 Chicago in the Community: #GivingForGoals & #SupportYourLocal”

Section 8 in the Community: Prideraiser

via Moria Dailey Nestmann 

Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.

2nd City Social ClubSecond City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate. In addition to their yearlong #GivingForGoals initiative, join us at the June 9 tailgate (and following #90MinuteTailgate) to celebrate Pride, eat tamales, and support the vital community work done by El Rescate. (If you’re unable to attend the game or are protesting by not attending the game, you can donate to the fundraiser virtually too.)

We talked with Rueben Hussman of the Second City Social Club to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.

First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:

Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.

Tell us about your community-building initiative:

SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus of doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.

Tell us how the rest of our community get involved with your initiative:

First and foremost – come out and say “hi” to a few of us this Saturday (June 9th) in the north lot where we’ll have a boatload of tamales to give out to the general community in exchange for a donation. That donation will go towards our ongoing #GivingForGoals initiative and this month’s PrideRaiser – which benefits the crucial work that El Rescate does out of Humboldt Park (seriously – go check them out!). We’re actually planning a 90 Minute Tailgate (#90MinuteTailgate) for this Saturday, which is some of our members’ reaction to sanctions placed on fellow supporters Sector Latino (and others who are in 101). If you are interested to hear why some of us are keeping ourselves in the lot on Saturday – stop by to get a tamale, support El Rescate and our general fundraising campaign, and let’s talk!

If you can’t make it Saturday – you can always check us out via Twitter (@2ndCitySC) or Facebook (Second City Social Club), and we try our best to be pushing out our campaigns there. We’d love to see anyone pledge funds towards these initiatives or to join us in our gatherings around town and with other organizations. Whether you are already a part of a supporters group, an independent, a casual Fire fan, or just interested in our initiatives – we’d love to hear from you and have you join us for some of our social events sometime soon!

I clearly remember as a newbie all those years back that it can be challenging to insert yourself in these things, but we’d just like to recommend anyone who is interested in what we are doing – or anything else that’s going on to just ask around a bit. You can do this through social media, in-person at matches or watch parties, or just by even inviting others to things that you are interested in. There are so many great communities that we feel lucky to be involved with, and each of them are constantly looking to grow – so jump in!

Per our earlier statement, Section 8 Chicago would like to welcome everyone to join us for the #90MinuteTailgate during Saturday’s match, where we will stand in solidarity with Section 101 while also supporting our Men in Red and celebrating Pride Night.

Seattle Shame

“Shame. Shame. Shame.” For followers of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, those words recall the scene of Cersei Lannister’s walk of atonement. But on May 13, when the Chicago Fire hosted the Seattle Sounders, those in attendance sporting neon green apparel found themselves being the ones shamed.

If you happened to be at Saturday’s tailgate, you probably saw a bearded individual dressed as what looked like a nun following around Seattle away supporters, ringing a bell, and chanting “shame” at them. Their crime? Being a Sounders fan, of course.

A long-time Fire supporter took it upon himself to don Game of Thrones-inspired apparel and recreate the scene at Toyota Park. That is, publicly shaming those wearing the opposing colors. And few were safe from being shamed for their decision to support the Sounders side. Needless to say, Fire fans and followers of HBO’s hit show alike reveled in the display. And after the Fire beat Seattle 4-1, well, it can be assumed Sounders fans had to feel some post-match shame.