Nolly ready for Fire challenge

Ex-'Caps 'keeper knows he'll be needed with starter on U-23 duty

A few months after losing the starting goalkeeper spot in Vancouver, Jay Nolly is ready to start over in Chicago.

Nolly was acquired by the Fire on Monday in exchange for a pick in the 2013 Supplemental Draft. The 29-year-old started 14 league games for the Whitecaps last season, but only played three times after Vancouver switched coaches on May 30.

That lack of playing time has Nolly excited for a new beginning with the Fire, even if he’ll primarily be the backup to incumbent starter Sean Johnson.

“Yeah, I’m definitely excited,” Nolly told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “Towards the end of the season, the Fire showed what kind of team they were and for me to jump right in with them is great. [Head coach Frank Klopas] gave me a call and he has a lot of expectations for the team, which is great, and I’m excited to come to such a great city, too.”

Though Nolly will likely begin the season as the No. 2 'keeper on the Fire’s depth chart, he should get significant playing time with Johnson likely to miss MLS games while with the US U-23 national team. That’s an exciting prospect for Nolly, who said that his time bouncing between the field and the bench last year prepared him well for such a role.

“I think that when you know that there’s a possibility that you’re going to get games through the year, that’s great motivation to keep your head down and work hard during the week,” Nolly said.

“I think I’ll be fully prepared for it,” he added. “I’ve always had a good attitude about things. It was definitely a bit difficult when you’re starting at the beginning of the season and then the coach change and I was pretty much put on the bench for the rest of the season. It was difficult but I never whined about it or anything, I just kept working hard and I think that will help me in the coming years.”