CHICAGO – Chicago Fire FC today announced that former Fire goalkeeper and current goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton will be officially inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame, known as the Ring of Fire.
The ceremony will take place at Soldier Field on Saturday, April 27, when the Chicago Fire takes on Atlanta United FC. As part of the induction ceremony, Thornton will be recognized on a banner behind the south goal at Soldier Field alongside banners of the other members.
“We’re thrilled to announce Zach Thornton’s induction into our Ring of Fire, cementing his legacy as an all-time great in Club history,” said Chicago Fire FC Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto. “Zach was an exceptional goalkeeper for the Fire and is one of just three players to be a part of all six of the Club’s major trophies. With his achievements as a player and his current contributions as a member of the First Team coaching staff, Zach has made a significant impact on the Club, both on and off the field. We look forward to officially presenting Zach with this well-deserved honor at Soldier Field on April 27.”
The “Ring of Fire” tribute began in 2003 to honor the Club’s most impactful players, coaches, and executives, celebrating their accomplishments as those who embody qualities of leadership, dedication, and integrity. The oldest such tribute in Major League Soccer, inductees are selected by Ring of Fire members in consultation with Club leadership.
“As I said when I joined the Fire as goalkeeper coach, this is my Club, this is my second home, and I am blessed to be part of this elite group,” said Thornton. “I’ve been a lot of places, played in a lot of places, but this is definitely one of my top soccer honors, ever. It’s impossible to accomplish something like this alone and I’d like to thank my parents and all the players and staff that have helped along the way. Winning that ’98 championship, playing with Frank Klopas and the guys, that was great, but it was the friendships that we made that have lasted over the years that make it even more special.”
Thornton will become the first goalkeeper inducted into the Ring of Fire and the ninth member overall. A seventh-round pick in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft, he spent two years with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars before the Fire acquired him with the 11th pick in the 1997 MLS Expansion Draft. After earning the starting job in the Fire’s inaugural…