Gibbs Already A Leader For Fire

Veteran defender mentoring young teammates ahead of season

When the Chicago Fire selected Cory Gibbs in Stage 2 of December’s Re-Entry Draft, they hoped they’d be getting a player who could stabilize their back line while providing experience in the locker room.

According to the veteran defender, the Fire are getting exactly what they hoped for.

“My role coming is just going to be keeping a hardcore defense,” Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com. “The ultimate goals are for us is to give up the least amount of goals in the league… and for me to bring in my experience and leadership to help these boys get where we want to be, which is in the playoffs.”

The 31-year-old Gibbs – who has spent time in Germany, Holland, England and MLS during his 10-year career – will likely hold down one of the two starting center back spots left empty by the offseason retirement of C.J. Brown and departure of Wilman Conde.

Gibbs’s large amount of experience will be significant for the Fire, who have three defenders – Jalil Anibaba, Steven Kinney, and Kwame Watson-Siriboe – entering their first or second seasons as pros.

“It’s going to be a building experience and we’re going to help build them,” Gibbs said. “The young guys are going to have to learn off the direction of me and the other experienced players.”

One of those other experienced players, Fire captain and defensive midfielder Logan Pause, is thrilled that he has Gibbs in camp to help lead.

“It’s huge for us having a guy like Cory,” Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “The amount of experience that he brings to our backline and to the younger players that are going to play a big part in our team is crucial.”

“He’s great; a fantastic addition for us,” Pause continued. “I think he’ll play a pivotal role not only in our defense but in our entire team as well.”

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