Fire may sign Academy player Pineda to pro

US Under-18 midfielder would count as "homegrown" signing

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire are considering signing Fire Academy and US Under-18 National Team midfielder Victor Pineda to a professional contract, technical director Frank Klopas said Tuesday.

If signed, the 17-year-old Pineda would fill one of the Fire’s two “homegrown” roster spots. Chicago would not have to drop a player to sign Pineda, who would not count against the salary cap.

“Our goal is to sign one of the kids,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “Victor’s here, he’s definitely one of the guys we're thinking about and talking about, but we still need to talk with the coaches and make the right decision.”

Pineda, who has been training with the Fire’s first team since late last week, played under Chicago assistant coach Mike Matkovich during the US U-18 squad’s July trip to Argentina and Chile (Matkovich also serves at head coach for the US U-18s).

“He’s a good player with good potential,” Klopas said. “He’s got good size, he’s very good with the ball, he runs at people and he’s got very good pace but this is a different level.

“I think Victor has got a lot of talent, but talent only gets you to a certain place without focus, hard work and dedication, which he seems to have."

Klopas mentioned that Pineda is not the only Fire Academy player being considered for a homegrown roster spot.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.