Press Release

Chicago Fire FC Announces Details for Legendary Goalkeeper Zach Thornton’s Ring of Fire Induction Ceremony 

24281_Ring of Fire_ceremony announcement_1920x1080 (4)

CHICAGO (April 11, 2024) – _Chicago Fire FC today announced the details for the Ring of Fire Induction Ceremony, presented by Hyundai, for former Fire goalkeeper and current goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton.

The Ring of Fire Induction ceremony will take place promptly at 5:45 p.m. CT, prior to the Fire’s April 27 match versus Atlanta United FC. The ceremony will be held in the stadium’s South Courtyard, located inside the main entrance at Gate 0 and Gate 6, which will open to fans for entry at 5:15 p.m. CT. Fans are encouraged to arrive early. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.

Ring of Fire members and Fire greats former forward and Head Coach Frank Klopas, former defender C.J. Brown, former defender Lubos Kubik, and the Fire’s first General Manager Peter Wilt will be in attendance for the ceremony.

Tickets for the April 27 match versus Atlanta United FC are available now – and for a limited time only, select seating locations are available for $18, representative of the number Thornton wore while proudly representing the Fire. To purchase tickets at this special price and to witness Thornton’s induction into the Ring of Fire, CLICK HERE.

To celebrate Thornton’s incredible achievement, the first 5,000 fans will receive Zach Thornton bobbleheads. The match will also serve as the Club’s celebration of 90s Night, presented by Wintrust, and as part of this nostalgia-filled night, limited edition t-shirts featuring a 90s-style caricature of Thornton will be on sale at the Team Store, and will only be available in-stadium.

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 season, he was named the League’s Goalkeeper of the Year as the Club took home the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles. The Fire remains the only expansion team in League history to win the domestic double in their first season.

He continued his reign as one of the top goalkeepers in MLS during his initial six-year stint with the Fire, earning three MLS All-Star bids (1998, 1999, 2000). He was also a part of the Club’s U.S. Open Cup championship teams in 1998, 2000, and 2003. After a year abroad, he returned to the Club in late 2004 and spent two more years as the Fire’s shot-stopper. Thornton remains only one of three Fire Originals to have won every domestic championship in Club history, alongside midfielder Chris Armas and Brown, both of whom are members of the Ring of Fire.

Thornton joins Armas, Brown, former captain Piotr Nowak, Kubik, Klopas, Wilt, former head coach Bob Bradley, and former forward Ante Razov in the Club’s Ring of Fire.

This weekend, the Fire head to the Big Apple to take on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. CT at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The match will be broadcast globally on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, streamed in English on, and transmitted locally in Spanish on WRTO 1200 AM.

For additional information on Chicago Fire FC, including information on the 2024 MLS Season, please visit: For regular Club updates, follow Chicago Fire FC on Twitter (@chicagofire and @vamosfire using hashtags #CF97 and #VamosFire), Instagram (@chicagofire), TikTok (@chicagofire), and Facebook at