Get to know Gaby Kirschner – Soccer supporter and writer

I was first introduced to Gaby Kirschner’s writing through a mutual friend. Soon after, I came across her article Bleachers Full of Women? The Question of Gender Equality in MLS Supporters’ Culture published at Howler Magazine. I immediately admired her, not only because of the quality of her writing, but because we both shared a support of the same cause: women having a voice in soccer.

Kirschner recently interviewed me for another article in her Bleachers series, Bleachers Full of Women: Debate Over Timbers Army Chant Show Why Words Matter. I appreciate her offering me the opportunity to talk about my experience as a woman supporter of the Chicago Fire.

In the short amount of time that I’ve known Kirschner, I am both impressed by her writing and her love for the beautiful game. I am thankful that she took the time to answer a few questions for me regarding her sports writing career. It’s been fun getting to know her, and I can’t wait for the opportunity where we can share a few adult beverages over a soccer match.

Photo: Marwan Shousher | Instagram: @shousherphotography
  • What inspired you to write the piece, and how did you get involved with The Howler? What is your position with them? What is your general day (responsibilities) like as an editorial assistant with them?

GK: So I was actually inspired to write the Bleachers series for the same reason as I got involved with Howler — representation of women in the soccer world. When I was in England last spring, I faced the typical responses to saying I was a fan: “oh yeah? Who’s Messi?”  (Seriously! Like, I don’t watch American football, but I still know who Peyton Manning is. Come on.) After six months of that, I realized I wanted to work in soccer in order to change that perception (and, of course, because I love the sport and who doesn’t want to do what they love?). I legitimately emailed Howler the summer I came back asking to work for them, and after an edit test and a conversation with George they brought me on board. I’m forever thankful for them for giving me my first opportunity in soccer media, and am so happy to work on a team I think seeks out such unique and important stories.

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Get to know Jeff Krause – Fire fan and writer

Thanks to Twitter I’ve been fortunate to connect with countless fans of the Chicago Fire that I may have never met otherwise. Jeff Krause is one of those fans. A few years ago Krause and I connected on Twitter over the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Red Stars. Since then we’ve gotten to know one another at Section 8 Chicago tailgates and Fire watch parties.

Not only is Krause a Fire fan, he is also a freelance writer, who is best known for his contribution to Chicagoland Soccer News and Fire Confidential Live covering the Chicago Fire.

I appreciate Krause taking the time to talk about his experience as a soccer blogger. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did.

JeffKrause (1)
Photo credit: Jeff Krause

Your Twitter bio says that you are a freelance writer – When did you start freelancing and what inspired you to do so?

JK: As far as specifically freelance writing, I really only started doing so in the last year. Up to that point, all my previous writing was through another site, however doing so has afforded me the opportunity to contract out some work as a writer, which is when I added “freelance” to my writing resume.

You have been contributing at Chicagoland Soccer News – Who else have you freelanced for, and are there any other blogs/sites that you contribute to?

JK: I occasionally contribute to Chicago Fire Confidential, which is part of the Chicago Tribune and is run by Guillermo Rivera. (Read CF97 Sirens’ interview with Fire Confidential’s Rivera from May 17.) I’ve recently done work for US Soccer and Copa America, and I have written for Total MLS, Soccer by Ives, Chicago Fire Soccer Club, and in the past.

Chicagoland Soccer News logo

A few of Krause’s contributions:

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Meet the Man Behind Fire Confidential: Guillermo Rivera

In 2009, I had the opportunity to cover the Chicago Red Stars at Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow – an online blogging community. Because of my affiliation with ChicagoNow, I also started following Fire Confidential, a blog covering the Chicago Fire at the same blogging community, Over the years, Fire Confidential has become one of the most credible sources for Fire news, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Guillermo Rivera.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rivera. I hope you enjoy getting to know the man behind Fire Confidential as much as I did.

Fire Confidential
Graphic: Nicole Hack | Logos: Fire Confidential

When did you first start Fire Confidential?

GR: Fire Confidential was started in 2009 as part of Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow blogging community. The Fire Confidential blog essentially replaced the Tribune’s “Red Card” blog, which was written by their last full-time soccer reporter, Luis Arroyave. Luis was reassigned to the Entertainment and Nightlife beat and the Trib decided not to replace him with a full-time soccer reporter. The original Fire Confidential writer was Sam Stejskal, who is now a contributor at I commented more frequently than other commenters on both blogs and began interaction with Sam via Fire Confidential.

What motivated you to start Fire Confidential?

GR: I didn’t technically “start” it, although the content is somewhat different than it originally was presented. Early in 2010, Sam received and accepted an offer to begin covering the Fire for This left a void and the Trib/ChicagoNow apparently had no one in mind to replace him. I felt that there wasn’t any other outlet available to Fire fans for actual coverage of the club and didn’t want the work that Luis and Sam put into reporting go to waste. I felt that “real”, daily Fire coverage was about to disappear, and I didn’t want that to happen.

I had an idea in mind of how the blog should be presented. I thought that there should be an outlet that covered and discussed the Fire in the same manner that all other major sports teams in the city were handled. It didn’t exist anywhere else in this market. Although the Sun-Times and Daily Herald had reporters assigned to the team – space and coverage was still limited.

I reached out to Sam and he put me in touch with ChicagoNow’s community manager, Jimmy Greenfield, and I pitched him my idea. He was more than happy to find someone who seemed passionate about covering the team, especially at the rates that were being offered, and he handed me the keys to the blog in April of 2010. My motivation for taking over Fire Confidential was based almost entirely on my feeling and desire to keep Fire discussion alive in someplace more mainstream than message boards like BigSoccer.

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