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Article updated: 1/22/2013 12:38 PM

Fire Foundation's soccer luncheon on March 5

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The Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, will hold its annual Chicago Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon at 11 a.m. March 5 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, team officials announced Tuesday.

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati will help kick off the Fire's 16th season by delivering the keynote address.

Tickets for the event start at $80 a person, with full tables for 10 guests at $750. The first 20 tables purchased for $850 will be seated with a member of the Fire first team or coaching staff. Tickets are available by calling (708) 496-6751.

Gulati, a highly regarded economics lecturer at Columbia University, was instrumental in creating the new National Women's Soccer League, which begins play in spring 2013.

At last year's luncheon, a sellout crowd of nearly 800 people raised more than $80,000 benefiting soccer and education programs for underprivileged Chicago area youths.

The annual event offers Fire supporters the first opportunity to meet the 2013 Chicago Fire team just days before Opening Night at Toyota Park and raise funds for various charities. The event includes a reception, lunch and silent auction featuring autographed Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and more. All proceeds benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation.

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