Fire Defender Cory Gibbs Announces Retirement, Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry Train With Atletico Madrid

A weekly account of all things Fire

CHICAGO FIRE DEFENDER CORY GIBBS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Monday that defender Cory Gibbs has retired from professional soccer. The club’s 2011 Defender of the Year and a U.S. Men's National Team veteran brings to end a 12-year professional career that saw him compete at the top levels in Europe prior to re-joining MLS in 2008.
 
A four-year standout at Brown University, Gibbs was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by the Miami Fusion but elected to go abroad and signed with FC St. Pauli of the German Bundesliga. Gibbs’ career included stops with the Dallas Burn, Dutch clubs Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag, English Premier League club Charlton Athletic, the Colorado Rapids and the New England Revolution before he was selected in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft by the Fire on Dec. 15, 2010.
 
In 2011 Gibbs made 26 appearances for the Men in Red, scoring three goals and tallying one assist over 2,203 minutes. Gibbs demonstrated his  aerial strength when he headed home a Marco Pappa free kick against Manchester United to give the Fire a 1-0 lead July 23.
 
Gibbs started the first three matches of the 2012 season at center back before suffering a right meniscus injury in training April 4. He underwent surgery April 10 and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
 
Gibbs earned his first international cap for the United States on June 8, 2003 against New Zealand, and went on to play a total of 19 games for the Yanks. Gibbs was named to the roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup but missed the tournament after suffering a knee injury in a tune-up match against Morocco May 23, 2006.
 
In his two seasons with the Fire, Gibbs served as a mentor for young defenders Jalil Anibaba, who led the Fire with 32 starts this season, and Austin Berry, who was recently named the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year.
 
JALIL ANIBABA AND AUSTIN BERRY TRAIN WITH ATLETICO MADRID

Chicago Fire defenders Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry are currently training with Spanish La Liga side and 2012 Europa League Champions Atlético Madrid. Anibaba is training with El Atléti from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2, while Berry, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, will train with the side from Nov. 25 through Dec. 9.
 
In 2011, the Fire formed a strategic alliance with Atlético Madrid, Club América and Sport Club Internacional and four other clubs on a total of five continents in an effort to bring clubs together in the spirit of creating synergy as it relates to the growth of soccer, on-the-field-and-off.
 
Berry and Anibaba, both 24, were instrumental to the Fire defense that held opponents to just 41 goals this season, tied for second best in the Eastern Conference. In 2012, the Men in Red went 17-11-6 and earned 57 points, tied with the 2000 season for the highest point total in club history, and qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 12th time in the club’s 15-year history.
 
VICTOR PINEDA UNDERGOES MENISCUS SURGERY
Chicago Fire midfielder Victor Pineda underwent surgery to repair his torn left meniscus following an injury suffered during the team’s post-season training session. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jason Koh of the Northshore Health System.
 
The first Homegrown player in Fire history, Pineda will be sidelined for three-to-five months.
 
The 19-year-old Bolingbrook, Ill. native has yet to make his first team debut for the Fire but played the full 90 minutes in the Fire’s 2-2 draw with reigning Mexican Primera champions Club Santos Laguna September 8.
 
A Chicago Fire Academy product, Pineda scored 12 goals in 20 matches for the Chicago Fire U-18 Academy squad during the 2011-12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season as the Fire entered the USSDA Playoffs as the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
 
Currently part of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team, Pineda will likely miss the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2013 FIFA World Youth Championship.
 
CHICAGO FIRE GOAL OF THE YEAR TOURNAMENT FINAL SET FOR NOV. 28
The Chicago Fire Goal of the Year tournament is down to its final four contestants. Voting for the first semifinal will take place Monday, Nov. 26 and pits Marco Pappa’s goal against the Columbus Crew June 23 against Chris Rolfe’s second goal against the Crew from Sept. 22.
 
The second semifinal will take place Tuesday, Nov. 27 between Marco Pappa’s April 28 olímpico against Seattle Sounders FC and Austin Berry’s game-winning header against Toronto FC Aug. 4.
 
Information on the Goal of the Year tournament can be found at http://www.chicago-fire.com/2012GOTY.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TO PARTICIPATE IN 2013 CAROLINA CHALLENGE CUP
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club will participate in the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup, hosted by the United Soccer Leagues’ Charleston Battery. The Fire will report to Toyota Park for Preseason Camp on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.
 
Set to be played at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. from February 16 through February 23, the Fire will join the Battery, and two MLS sides to be named later for three matches on Feb. 16, 20 and 23 for the 10th edition of the United States’ premier preseason tournament.
 
In the 2012 edition, the Men in Red went 1-1-0 in the round robin competition, falling 1-0 to D.C. United before defeating the Columbus Crew 1-0. The third match against the Charleston Battery was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms.
 
The Fire previously played two close Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup encounters with the third division side, downing the Battery 1-0 in extra time on August 25, 2004 at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill. before drawing 0-0 and eventually falling on penalties on June 30, 2010. The Battery were crowned 2012 USL Pro champions with a 1-0 win against the Wilmington Hammerheads Sept. 8.
 
CHICAGO FIRE HOLIDAY PACKS NOW ON SALE
The Chicago Fire holiday pack gives fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action in their first match of the 2013 season at a discounted price. This limited time offer includes four (4) Corner Kick tickets ($112 value) to Opening Night at Toyota Park, 4 Fire hats, and 4 Fire gloves all for just $99. Chicago Fire Holiday Packs are available through Ticketmaster or by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE.
 
2012 Holiday Pack - $99 Includes:

  • Four (4) Corner Kick tickets to the Fire’s Opening Night at TOYOTA PARK
  • Four (4) Fire Hats
  • Four (4) pairs of Fire gloves

 
Click here to order a Holiday Pack.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TO HOLD FIFTH ANNUAL OPEN TRYOUTS DECEMBER 14-15 AT BRIDGEVIEW SPORTS DOME
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club will hold its Fifth Annual Open Tryouts on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Bridgeview Soccer & Sports Dome at 8900 S. 77th Ave. in Bridgeview, IL 60455. A map to the Bridgeview Soccer & Sports Dome can be found here. The tryout is open to male soccer players ages 18 and older who believe they can succeed at the Major League Soccer level. Members of the Fire Technical Staff will be on hand at the tryouts to observe and rank players and the winner of the Open Tryout will be awarded the chance to train with the Fire first team during the club’s preseason camp.
 
At the Fire’s Third Annual Open Tryout in January 2011, Chicago Fire defender Pari Pantazopoulos emerged from a group of over 200 participants from 19 different countries to win the club’s Open Tryout and a spot on the first team’s preseason roster. The Mt. Prospect, IL product advanced through all three phases of the club’s preseason camp to sign on as a member of the Chicago Fire. Pantazopoulos made his first team debut on June 28, 2011 in a U.S. Open Cup match vs. the Rochester Rhinos and went on to appear in the club’s midseason friendly against English giants Manchester United at Soldier Field on July 23.
 
Tryout registration is $150 (non-refundable plus processing fees) with each player guaranteed an hour of playing time. Space at the tryout is limited. All interested players must register online by visiting Chicago-Fire.com: http://www.chicago-fire.com/opentryout. Applications must be submitted online and applicants must have a valid e-mail address as registration forms will not be accepted via fax or over the phone.  All registrants will be contacted with a schedule via e-mail on or before Tuesday, Dec. 11.
 
The registration deadline is Monday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. CT.  No registration forms will be accepted after that date.
 
Questions can be answered by e-mailing opentryout@Chicago-Fire.com. For more information visit the club’s official website www.chicago-fire.com.
 
TRYOUT FORMAT*:
The first round of tryouts will take place on Friday, Dec. 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT. Each player is required to attend the first round of tryouts and is guaranteed one hour of playing time. Each registrant will receive their time slot via email on or before Tuesday, Dec. 11. All players will be notified on site if they are to return for Day Two of the tryouts on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 9:00 a.m. CT
 
Day 1           December 14 (All Participants)
Day 2           December 15 (Call backs from previous day)
 
Day (1)
Players will be placed into teams of (7) v (7) + goalkeepers and each team will be allocated a one hour time slot. Players will be notified on site if they have been selected for the next stage.
 
DAY (2)

Players will be placed into teams of (11) v (11) and each team will be allocated a one hour time slot. Systematically players will be selected to move onto the next stage or notified if they have been cut.
 
*Information is subject to change.
 
FIRE IN THE NEWS
 
Fire’s Berry named MLS rookie of the year - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - November 19, 2012
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/chi-chicago-fire-austin-berr...
 
Berry, Pause win MLS awards - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - November 19, 2012
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121119/sports/711199865/
 
MLS rookie of the year: Austin Berry’s maturity helps him run away with award - Brian Straus - Sporting News - November 19, 2012
http://aol.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2012-11-19/mls-rookie-of-the-ye...
 
Berry, Pause awarded MLS honors - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - November 19, 2012
http://www.csnchicago.com/soccer-chicago-fire/news/Berry-Pause-awarded-M...
 
El Chicago Fire no se va de vacío esta temporada - Jose Luis Sanchez Pando – Hoy - November 19, 2012
http://www.vivelohoy.com/deportes/8206928/el-chicago-fire-no-se-va-de-va...
 
Berry upholds Fire tradition - Ridge Mahoney - Soccer America - November 19, 2012
http://www.socceramerica.com/article/49281/berry-upholds-fire-tradition....
 
Jalil Anibaba Training With Atletico Madrid - Ryan Sealock - Hot Time in Old Town - November 19, 2012
http://www.hottimeinoldtown.com/2012/11/19/3668514/jalil-anibaba-trainin...
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM

 
Five Things Jeff Crandall is Thankful for this Thanksgiving – November 22, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/11/22/five-things-jeff-cranda...
 
Victor Pineda Sidelined After Meniscus Repair – November 21, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/11/victor-pineda-sidelined-3-5-mon...
 
Checking in with Jalil from Madrid – November 21, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/11/21/checking-jalil-madrid