Soccer - Chicago Fire, Chicago
Ever been to a pro soccer game? No matter your answer, I definitely recommend a trip out to see the Chicago Fire. The new stadium just opened last year (2006), so the Fire no longer have to share with "Da Bears." Toyota Park is a great facility, and MLS soccer is a lot of fun. The Fire definitely have the best (and most entertaining) fan section in the league. Unfortunately this is one pro sport that has yet to catch on in the US, but those of us who have been to games know its true appeal. If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend getting tickets to a game vs New England or DC United. Both are big rivalries, so you're guaranteed a heavily charged atmosphere. But really, you'll have fun at the game no matter who they're playing.
Just to give you an idea of how quickly you can get into the sport - last year I went to my first Fire game simply because the new stadium is so close to my house. I now consider myself a die-hard season ticket holder :o)
The Chicago Fire are Chicago's professional soccer team. They have been pretty successful since their inaugural season in 1998. The fan base is decent and very loyal. With Chicago's large Hispanic and Eastern European population, interest in the team is modest and they draw a good amount of people.
Equipment: The Fire play at Soldier Field, but will have a home of their own in 2006. Tickets are available at the gate and are priced reasonably from $15-$75.
Pick up soccer is everywhere in Chicago. The one I recommend is in Lincoln Park just south of Belmon Ave and west of Lakeshore Dr.and north of the Diversey Driving Range. Six days a week ( no fridays). Weekends 10am till 1130 am. Weekdays 5PM till 630 or so. Players from all over the world and US. People who actually played in the world cup to average skill. Just be on time or you will just watch.
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Equipment: I suggest you are insured!