Player Development Update
The Chicago Fire Player Development department is currently
in its silly season, running through the Great Lakes and beyond, successfully
carrying the Chicago Fire banner.
The month of June has been especially fruitful for the
department, with both Academy teams headed to the US Soccer Development
Academy’s National Playoffs, the PDL and Super-20 teams top of their divisions,
the NPSL side qualifying for the USASA nationals and five Chicago Fire Junior’s
clubs qualifying for National Regional tournaments after placing at the
Illinois State Cup.
Chicago Fire Academy
The Chicago Fire U16 and U18 Academy teams head to
Greensboro, NC this week for the USSF Development Academy’s national playoffs
to be held from June 25-June 29. This season marks the first time both sides
have qualified for the playoffs since the Fire Academy began in 2007.
The U16’s qualified as Frontier Division champions, going
12-5-9 overall (10-4-3 in division) while the U18’s finished third in the Frontier
Division, but qualified as a wild card going 15-7-4 (10-4-3).
“We’re proud of both team’s performances this season,” said
Fire Director of Player Development John Dorn. “Having both sides qualify for
the national playoffs speaks about the type of talent that’s coming along in
the Fire Player Development system and we’re expecting more from both sides
this week in North Carolina.”
The national playoffs actually work as a round-robin
tournament, with both the U16 and U18 age brackets consisting of 32 teams,
split into eight groups of four. The top team in each group after the
three-match round robin will advance to the national finals to be held July
9-18 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
Below are both teams match schedules:
U16 Fire Academy
U18 Fire Academy
vs. Concorde Fire (GA)
vs. Texas SC DTH
vs. Arsenal FC (CA)
vs. FC Westchester (PA)
vs. FC Westchester (PA)
vs. Baltimore Bays
Chicago Fire PDL
& Super 20
The Chicago Fire PDL and Super 20 sides have gone a combined
7-0-0, scoring 20 goals and surrendering only one in the past seven days,
taking both teams to the top of their respective divisions as they \ round the
final turn towards the end of their regular seasons.
The Chicago Fire PDL team dispatched the Toronto Lynx 2-0
(June 16) and Forest City London (June 18) on last week’s Canadian road swing.
Ethan Finley tallied a brace in Toronto while Tom Oatley
recorded his first goal of the season in London. In a club first, Ian
Christianson and Chris Ritter became the first two Fire Academy alumni to play
for the PDL team since the Academy’s launch in 2007, with their appearances in
the 1-0 win over London.
The PDL team returned to Toyota Park Monday afternoon to
play the return leg with Toronto, dropping the Lynx 5-0 on the stadium Turf
Field. Oatley continued what he started in London, scoring a hat trick inside
58 minutes, while JC Banks and Tony Walls added single tallies.
The win kept the PDL side atop the Great Lakes Division with
a 7-2-1 (22 pts.) record and gave six points of separation between the three
sides vying for second in the tight division.
The Fire PDL travel to Ohio this Saturday for their first-ever
meeting with the professional Dayton Dutch Lions, with kickoff set for 7:30pm
The Super-20 side kept up their end of deal, going 4-0 over
the past week.
Shane Lyons lone marker was enough to kickoff the week with
a 1-0 win away to the Toronto Lynx on June 16.
Three days later and fresh off his PDL debut, Christianson
tallied a brace and Krystian Witkowski another in an emphatic 3-0 win over
Cincinnati United Premier at Toyota Park. Returning to the field just two days
later, the 20’s matched the PDL side’s sweep of Toronto with a 3-0 win over the
Lynx. Eric Frazier hit the back of the net twice while Christianson added a
Tuesday afternoon it was Christianson scoring again, hitting
the back of the net in his third straight game with two goals in a huge 5-1 win
over TKO Kalamazoo. Brandan King also tallied a brace while Milan Tica added a
The Super 20’s are a perfect 7-0-0 and sit atop the Midwest
Division. With four matches left to play, the 20’s are back in action for their
return leg with Cincinnati United Premier on July 2.
State Cup winners and
Congratulations to the Fire’s U23 NPSL side which qualified
for the USASA U23 National Cup, going 3-1 in last weekend’s Region II
championship. The National
Championship will be held July 23-25 in Overland Park, KS.
Congratulations to the Chicago Fire Juniors U16, U18 and U19
boys teams and U15 girls teams on winning their respective State Cup
championships. With their win, the
U15 girls become the first girls CFJ side to win the Illinois State Cup, while
the U19 girls finished as runners-up, qualifying for regionals.