The Weekly Update
FIRE ADD FOUR PLAYERS TO PRESEASON ROSTER AT 2011 MLS SUPERDRAFT
The Chicago Fire selected three players and acquired a fourth in a busy day at the 2011 MLS SuperDraft at the Baltimore Convention Center last Thursday. The four players acquired through the draft and the additions of Daniel Paladini and Josip Mikulic bring the club’s off season acquisitions to seven since the 2010 season concluded in late October.
The Men in Red selected central defender Jalil Anibaba out of the University of North Carolina with their first round pick (9th overall). Anibaba, the Tom Fitzgerald MVP of the 2011 adidas MLS Combine, becomes the second Tar Heel on the Fire’s roster, joining 2010 Fire MVP Logan Pause as the two alumni of the Chapel Hill-based soccer program.
The Fire used their three third round picks to snag two forwards and acquire veteran goalkeeper Jon Conway from Toronto FC. Jason Herrick (45th overall) from the University of Maryland and Davis Paul (51st overall) from the University of California will join the Fire intent on scoring goals and adding depth to the forward position. Conway, who was acquired in exchange for the 49th overall selection, brings 11 years of MLS experience to the Fire’s goalkeeping core of Sean Johnson and Andrew Dykstra.
Corben Bone, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Steven Kinney and Sean Johnson, all a part of the Fire’s 2010 draft class, went on to play significant minutes for the club in 2010.
PALADINI AND MIKULIC JOIN THE CLUB
Last week, the Fire added midfielder Daniel Paladini and defender Josip Mikulic to the growing roster ahead of the club’s preseason camp. Paladini, a USSF D-2 Best XI midfielder, joins the Fire from the Carolina RailHawks. Mikulic, a 24-year-old central defender, joins the club from Croatian side NK Zagreb and will be added to the Fire’s roster upon the receipt of his visa and International Transfer Certificate.
Mikulic is one of three additions to the Fire’s back line in the 2011 off season. The Croatian center back joins Cory Gibbs and Anibaba as the Fire build a defense depleted by the retirement of C.J. Brown and the departure of Wilman Conde.
Paladini, a Northridge, CA product tallied seven goals and added five assists in 34 matches for the RailHawks in 2010. The 26-year-old midfielder made an immediate impact in his first season with the RailHawks, earning team MVP honors. Prior to his consecutive Best XI selections for the RailHawks, Paladini played with Chivas USA appearing in eight matches, playing 458 minutes and opening his MLS account with a goal in a 3-1 victory over Toronto FC Sept. 6, 2008.
SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT RETURNS AFTER TWO-YEAR HIATUS
The Fire hold three selections in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 1 PM CT. The draft will consist of three rounds with each of MLS 18 clubs participating. The Fire currently hold the ninth, 27th and 45th selections of the 54 player draft.
The Vancouver Whitecaps, who selected U.S. Under-20 forward Omar Salgado with the first overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, will have the first overall pick in the 2011 Supplemental Draft followed by the Portland Timbers.
The return of the Supplemental Draft from a two-year hiatus coincides with the return of the MLS Reserve Division in 2011.
LEO PERCOVICH JOINS CARLOS DE LOS COBOS’ STAFF
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club have named Leo Percovich as first assistant coach. Percovich, a veteran coach with experience in MLS, La Liga and numerous teams in Europe and South America, has joined head coach Carlos de los Cobos’ staff ahead of the Fire’s preseason camp.
Percovich, 42, is a former Copa Libertadores and Uruguayan First Division champion. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, he served as a goalkeeper coach with the Colorado Rapids (2006-2007) and Chivas USA (2008-2009) before joining Toronto FC as an assistant coach in 2009.
The multi-lingual coach has trained under various coaches throughout Europe and Latin America, including spending time with club sides Real Madrid, Valencia, Stuttgart, Cruzeiro, and Pachuca as well as the national teams of Brazil, France, and Uruguay.
SEASON TICKET HOLDERS GIVEN CHANCE TO GET BEHIND THE SCENES AT OPENING DAY AT TOYOTA PARK
ALL Season Ticket Holders that have newly bought or renewed their seats for 2011 by Feb. 4 are eligible to be chosen for an exclusive pre-game behind the scenes experience on Opening Day at TOYOTA PARK on Saturday, March 26 at 3:00 PM CT against Sporting Kansas City.
See what game day is like for a Chicago Fire staffer ahead of the match. Greet the players as they arrive, catch the coach’s pre-game media interview, watch from the field during warm-ups and join the players as they walk out of the midfield tunnel to start the 2011 home season.
2011 Premium Season Ticket Holders (Club, FieldSide and Suite) will be eligible to attend an exclusive First Team preseason training session at the Bridgeview Sports Dome. Following training, attendees will be invited to participate in a autograph session with the players.
OVER 210 HOPEFULLS TURN OUT FOR CHICAGO FIRE OPEN TRYOUT
With over 210 participants from 19 different countries, the third annual Chicago Fire Open Tryout was the clubs largest yet. Soccer players with hopes of fulfilling a dream and capturing a spot on the Fire first team came out in droves to showcase their ability at the newly remodeled Bridgeview Soccer and Sports Dome over the course of a Friday and Saturday in early January. Of the 210 players participating on Day One of the tryout, 35 were invited back for a second look by the Chicago Fire Player Development Staff.
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club will announce the winner or winners on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The winner/winners will be given the opportunity to train and make a lasting impression with Fire Head Coach Carlos de los Cobos during a week of preseason training.