The last 10 days or so have been memorable for anybody who follows the Fire or soccer in Chicago.
After an April 2 tweet by a lawyer who first brought up the topic, it was reported last Friday that the Fire and Major League Soccer are in negotiations with Bridgeview to end the team’s lease at SeatGeek Stadium so the franchise can move to Soldier Field.
Reports also had the team exploring a rebrand and potentially ditching its name.
For Nicole Hack, it meant more trials and tribulations as a supporter of the team, which hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday night. But not only is she a fan, she’s the chair of the Section 8 Independent Supporters’ Association. Under her leadership, Section 8 and the Fire struck a deal for the return of organized supporter activity after sitting out much of last year because of the banishment of the Sector Latino group.
Now there’s this.
“I was kind of like, ‘Here we go again,’ ’’ Hack said. ‘‘As part of the supporters’ association and a supporter in general, we just ended the boycott six weeks [earlier]. We’re finally starting to get back in the groove of being active and getting people back out there, which has been challenging because the weather hasn’t been great and the game times have not been ideal.
“Then, all of a sudden, we’re trying to do our thing. It’s disheartening. It’s discouraging.”
Since the news emerged, speculation and opinions have overshadowed what has taken place on the field for the Fire (1-2-2, five points), who drew 2-2 on Saturday at Toronto FC. National pundits have weighed in, Section 8 released its own statement, and the #cf97 on Twitter has been dominated by the story.
Hack has had time to weigh her thoughts and emotions. She’s against the name change but endorses a return to Chicago.
“I think it is imperative that the team plays in the city,’’ Hack said. ‘‘I don’t [know] if Soldier Field is the answer. I think it is potentially a good temporary home if there’s a possibility they could have their own facility in the city. I think that would be ideal.”
In a statement, Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodriguez addressed Soldier Field and the branding.
“Our home is SeatGeek Stadium, and we will defend our field,” Rodriguez said. “We have great fans anywhere we play, and we play for their honor, as well.”
As far as the rebrand or refresh, Rodriguez alluded to a media session last July, when he said, “Refresh is the word we like. It’s not an overhaul. It’s not a major change. It’s an iconic badge.”
“We’re a little surprised that this is being treated as news,’’ Rodriguez said in the statement. ‘‘I mentioned it publicly last year, as well as with our supporters, that we wanted to consider what we called a refresh. What that means is hard to say right now. We need to do more research.”