Michael Bradley has played professional soccer in Chicago before, but this return is a little different.
Bradley, who played for Sockers FC in Palatine while his father, Bob, coached the Fire 1998 through 2002, is returning as an MLS all-star.
"Coming back to Chicago is always special for me," Bradley said at Tuesday's news conference for Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field (8 p.m., FS1).
"Some of the most important years for me growing up and growing up as a young player were here in Chicago."
Bradley just celebrated his 30th birthday Monday. He also just celebrated winning a Gold Cup trophy as captain of the U.S. national team.
"I can remember coming to the old Soldier Field on Saturday nights and watching games, the atmosphere, at that time the league was so unique," he said. "It had such a European feel to it. Obviously, it helped that there was a strong Polish presence in the team, but certainly when I look back on my childhood and growing up, the time spent here was incredible.
"For me to come back as a player, whether over the years it's been national team or now with the MLS All-Star Team, it's always something that I really look forward to."
Also returning to Chicago for the All-Star Game is former Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, 35, now with the Houston Dynamo.
Bradley was asked if he might join his father. Bob Bradley was hired last week as the first coach of Los Angeles Football Club, a 2018 expansion team.
"My dad and I have an incredible relationship," Michael Bradley said. "I am who I am as a person and as a player because of him. The experiences that we've been able to share because of this game are some of the best of my entire life."
That was part of Bradley's polite way of saying he expects to be back with Toronto FC next year.
"For 33 games next year I'll be LAFC's biggest fan," Bradley said, " … but I'm not going anywhere.
"I love Toronto. Toronto's my home. Toronto's my club. I've never been more committed to trying to finish what I went there for, which was to win, to hold up trophies."
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos said the Spanish club isn't taking the All-Star Game lightly.
"It's an important game," Kroos said. "It's the last game for us before the real season starts. Our goal is to go to the next step and for this it is important to win."
Fans at Soldier Field serenaded Chicago Fire midfielder and MLS all-star captain Bastian Schweinsteiger with a couple of refrains of "Happy birthday" as the all-stars worked out. Schweinsteiger turned 33 Tuesday.