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Section 8 Chicago, the Independent Supporters’ Association for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, encompasses a number of affiliate supporters groups and independent fans. The vision of the ISA is “. . . to unite all Chicago Fire fans, to create a dominant in-stadium force unseen in any American team sport and to establish a home-field advantage whenever the Chicago Fire play.”

The ISA exists to supplement the efforts of independent fans, coordinate between the supporters groups and act as liaison between fans and the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. As a non-profit organization, a board of directors is elected yearly at the Annual General Meeting in February by the assembled supporters.

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WHOSE HOUSE? Sean Johnson wins Supporters’ Player of the Year Award

Sean Johnson Section 8 Chicago Supporters Player of the Year #cf97

On Saturday, Sean Johnson accepted the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award (SPOY) at an event hosted specifically for him at The Globe Pub. Each year Section 8 Chicago ISA donates $1000 in that player’s name to a charity of their choice. Johnson asked that we make this year’s SPOY donation to Matt Lampson’s LampStrong Foundation.

If you missed Saturday’s event, here’s a video of Johnson receiving the award and sharing a few words with supporters in attendance:

Video credit: Jeff Crandall

Here’s what a few diehard Chicago Fire fans had to say about Johnson as the award recipient:

“Through great moments and trying times, Sean Johnson has constantly upheld the tenets of Tradition, Honor and Passion. His unwavering dedication to the club and leadership on and off the field make him a worthy recipient of the Section 8 Chicago Supporters Player of the Year award. Congrats to Sean on such a deserved honor!” – Jeff Crandall

“While I will allow others to discuss Sean Johnson’s on-field exploits, I would like to touch on the reasons why I voted for him. Despite what many people think about the SPOTY award, the individual player’s sporting conduct is only one of the parameters for the honor. It is also meant to be given to those that embody the spirit of the club and reflect the values etched into the column of the Toyota Park tunnel. While the words “Tradition.  Honor. Passion.” are thrown around a lot by various figureheads of the club, often to the detriment of their meaning, Sean Johnson is a player who has taken those ideals to heart. Although he has personally been a part of the lowest doldrums in our history rather than participating its highest heights, he has never shied away from treating the crest, the supporters, and the organization with the respect they deserve. Whether reflected in the simple tasks of taking photos with young fans, signing autographs, or wholeheartedly participating in community service projects , or the much more difficult tasks of raising an apologetic hand as the team stumbles in yet another Open Cup Semi, talking earnestly with the supporters about shortcomings, or taking off that shirt for possibly the last time, Sean makes those three words more relevant than they have been recently. For that, and for many more personal and communal memories, I thank him.”   – Marty Tomszak

“I was so glad to see SJohn25 back minding the net in May. Johnson has been a welcome familiar and formidable presence in goal on a club with near complete turnover in a very short time. One of the few bright spots for supporters amidst the spectacularly bad 2015 season, followed by, stunningly, an even worse 2016 campaign.” – Merrie Bunt

“For many years Sean Johnson has played the starting role in the most dangerous and exposed position on the field for the Chicago Fire. He has been a star player and leader on the field and truly a consummate professional off the field. He has always faced his fate with humility and grace and with a maturity typically only seen in weathered veteran players. Perhaps most importantly he’s been one of the few players to consistently live up to the expectations set by the stalwarts of the club that have come before him.

Supporters expect the players who grace this club to be more than just exceptional athletes and players. Success is not only defined by wins and losses or championships and awards. Those elements are the effects caused by having a solid foundation.

More than any player this season or in recent years, Sean Johnson has embodied the requisite elements necessary in the building a club’s successful foundation. Players of his ilk would fit in in any era of this club. Whether or not this is recognized by the Fire’s technical staff or front office, no one is more deserving of accolades, recognition and apologies from supporters of this club than Sean Johnson.” – Ben Burton 


Photo credit: Shane Murray