February 14, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
“IT’S TRULY AN HONOR”
Brown gratified to be added to Ring of Fire
After 13 years and some 370 games across all competitions with the Chicago Fire, C.J. Brown hung his cleats up at the end of the 2010 season. Little more than a year later, Brown will be taking his place in the team’s Ring of Fire.
|CJ Brown will be the seventh member of the Ring of Fire.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“It’s truly an honor,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s an honor to be a part of that. It’s emotional. It’s rewarding. There are a lot of different feelings I have for that. It’s a real big honor to be a part of that. I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for everybody who felt that I should be a part of that.”
Brown holds the club record for most MLS regular season appearances (296), MLS Cup playoff appearances (35) and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances (25). Serving as Fire captain from 2008-09, Brown’s 372 appearances across all competitions are also a club record and rank him third all-time behind only Jaime Moreno (415) and Cobi Jones (392) for most competitive games played for one MLS club. Brown joins current Ring of Fire member Chris Armas and recently retired goalkeeper Zach Thornton as the only three players to be a part of all six of the club’s domestic championships.
Unlike Hall of Fame elections, when the date the selections are announced are pretty well known, Brown said his selection to the Ring of Fire came as a surprise.
“Just yesterday I was coming out of training, I had a message that Javier Leon (Managing Director of Andell Sports Group) called me, so I called him after lunch. He just explained to me how everything that I've done for the club and been a part of all the championships all the work I put in I deserved to be in the Ring of Fire. He said he spoke to all the other guys that are in the Ring of Fire and that they all had a lot of good stuff to say about me. I was shocked and appreciated it all at the same time.”
Brown will be the seventh Ring of Fire inductee, after former Fire captain Peter Nowak, former Fire defender Lubos Kubik, former Fire forward and current head coach Frank Klopas, the Fire’s first General Manager Peter Wilt, former Fire head coach Bob Bradley and former Fire midfielder Chris Armas.
Brown says the Ring of Fire was something he always aspired to.
“I've always told myself I wanted to make an impression,” said Brown “You do everything in your power to make an impression. As soon as I started to see the ring of Fire, the special people like Frank Kopas and Armas, Lubos and Peter (Nowak), Peter Wilt and Bob Bradley and guys like that up on the board, with the name, one day I want my name up there. I want people to know me, not only for being a good soccer player but a good person. That was definitely a goal.”
Now that goal has been achieved.