Gibbs to add veteran leadership to Chicago

Ex-New England defender will strengthen Fire's back line

The Chicago Fire made their first player acquisition of the offseason Wednesday, selecting former New England Revolution defender Cory Gibbs with the seventh pick in the Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft. The sides have already agreed to a contract, the Fire said, though the terms weren't disclosed

“He’s a very good player who brings a lot of experience to the team,” Fire technical director Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s someone who has international experience playing abroad in Europe and also with the [US] national team. He knows the league very well and is a very mature player. He can bolster our defense for sure.”

The move addresses Chicago’s lack of depth at center back, a position that looked very thin after 2010 starters Wilman Conde and C.J. Brown left the club this offseason. Chicago now have three options in the middle of the back line in Gibbs, Dasan Robinson and second-year player Kwame Watson-Siriboe.

“We need to do a lot of work with our team and that’s one of the areas that we need to bolster,” Klopas said. “I think this is a very good pickup for us.”

The 30-year-old Gibbs made 25 appearances with New England last season, and is a veteran with experience in England, Germany and the Netherlands. With Chicago losing Brown, as well as Brian McBride (retirement) and John Thorrington (selected by Vancouver in the Expansion Draft), his arrival adds a veteran presence to a locker room in dire need of experienced leadership.

“He's a good guy,” Klopas said of Gibbs. “He’s a competitor ... who can be a voice in the locker room because he is an experienced, older guy.”

Klopas added that the former Feyenoord man is in Chicago to stay and is not on the trade market.

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

Ready to Launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!