Soldier Field will host the Major League Soccer All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday.
The game on Aug. 2 will feature the MLS All-Stars against a yet-to-be-named international team. The Fire, who play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, will host the event.
“The Chicago Fire is honored to join Major League Soccer and the city of Chicago in hosting the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Target,” Fire owner and chairman Andrew Hauptman said in a statement. “The game is a great opportunity to bring international attention to our city, league and soccer club, and we are excited for the spotlight to be on historic Soldier Field this August for an amazing match between MLS’ best players and a prestigious international club.
“As the Chicago Fire marks its 20th anniversary season, we are pleased to count this marquee event as part of our seasonlong celebration of soccer in the Windy City, and I am personally grateful to our host committee for joining us in welcoming the All-Star Game to Chicago.”
Hauptman, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a news conference announcing the game.
Emanuel said world-class sporting events such as the MLS All-Star Game and the NFL and NHL drafts are an opportunity to showcase Chicago to the international tourists he’s trying desperately to attract.
“One hundred seven countries will be watching this event; it’s gonna project Chicago as a major world-class city,” Emanuel said. “It’s not just a soccer game. It’s a whole weekend of activity. It’s also while Lollapalooza is here. You can’t get advertising like that.”
Chicago attracted 54 million visitors last year, but international tourism remains a weakness.
The Fire hosted the All-Star Game at Toyota Park against Chelsea in 2006. The Fire’s Veljko Paunovic will coach the MLS All-Stars.
Contributing: Fran Spielman