Getting to Know Maicon Santos

SANTOS: “I’m honored to be part of the Chicago Fire."

Through the first 10 selections of last Friday’s Stage MLS Re-Entry Stage One Draft, things went similarly to the way they’d gone at the phase the previous two years.

Because teams that select a player in Stage One have to take the player at their previous salary, its usually a quick event.

So it went, with lots of passes until the 11th pick where the Fire broke the monotony by making the only choice in the Draft, selecting Brazilian forward Maicon Santos from D.C. United.

Those expecting to see every team pass were surprised and a continent away, so was the 6-1 attacker.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be selected on Friday,” said Santos via telephone from Brazil on Monday. “At the same time I was excited to be the only picked in the first round. I’m glad that I was attractive enough to be picked and I’m excited to be part of a big club in a big city.”

With the selection, Santos joins his fifth MLS team since 2009 with stops including stints at Chivas USA (2009-10), Toronto FC (2010-11), FC Dallas (2011) and D.C. United (2012).
Santos began his career in his native Brazil with Madureira Esporte Clube in 2004 before setting out for clubs in Libya, Tunisia and Israel between 2006-08.

   WATCH: Maicon Santos hits a blinder

While a player as well-traveled as the Brazilian forward might raise question marks, Santos comes to the Fire off of his two best MLS seasons, when he tallied eight goals and two assists combined for Toronto and Dallas in 2011.

He started 2012 off extremely hot,  scoring six goals in his first nine matches and went on to tally seven goals and three assists before a right toe injury suffered in July slowed his pace. Still, appearing in 26 games, Santos recovered enough to help D.C. qualify for their first MLS Cup playoff appearance since 2007.

“From the beginning, this past season was predicated by people writing and saying some negative things about me,” Santos said. “That made me want to push and show people that I am a good player -- that I’m better than what they were saying. [Coming to D.C.], to be with a new club and get to know and spend time with everyone, to start a new season was great. Before the injury, it was a very good season for me and we achieved some good things in D.C.”

Santos is a powerful presence known around the league for his ability to hit a ball from range and sniff around the goal. While it is unclear what Fire head man Frank Klopas intends to do with the sizeable striker, however, he seems likely to be pegged as a sometimes starter and player that can give valuable minutes coming off the bench.

 “I like to be on or around the 18,” he said about his play. “I like to move around laterally. I’m a big player that can hold the ball up top and have a great left foot. I’m really powerful and like to control the ball to help set people up. My biggest asset I think is the ability to hit a powerful shot on goal, from distance.”

Currently enjoying offseason back home in Brazil, Santos expects to return to the States just after the New Year to begin his move to Chicago.

Admittedly, he can’t wait.

“I’m really excited. I’ve heard a lot about Chicago. You hear about the Fire a lot around the league and you hear the power they have. It’s a big club, a big team in a big city. It has respect and in particular, the fans have respect.

“I’m honored to be part of the Chicago Fire. I’m going to give everything on the field to make the fans happy and try to score a lot of goals for them.”

PHOTOS: Maicon Santos through the years