Gonzalo Segares "very happy" to remain a Fire player

"There was always the hope that we’d be able to get into a new agreement.”

Fire fans everywhere drew a collective sigh of relief Thursday afternoon when the club announced veteran defender Gonzalo Segares had inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Men in Red.

“I’m very happy that we could come to an agreement for me to stay in Chicago,” Segares said via phone from Costa Rica Thursday night. “The Fire gave me the opportunity to become a professional in MLS and this is the only team that I’ve played with in the league since the draft in 2005. I’m definitely happy to stay part of the Fire."

READ: Segares hits 200 competitive appearances for the Fire

The reason for consternation came with the league’s Monday release of the initial list of players eligible for Friday’s Re-Entry Draft Stage 1. An eight-year veteran of the league, the 30-year-old defender appeared on the list after the club declined his option.

While from the outside it looked as if the Fire were turning their back on a longtime fan favorite, Segares tested the early water of the league’s free agency mechanism while the two parties continued to work towards a deal.

“At the time I wasn’t quite sure how things were going to go. I knew we were trying to work things out but nothing was concrete. It’s tough to see your name out there with a possibility of leaving because they definitely weren’t going to take my option. That part is hard to see but there was always the hope that we’d be able to get into a new agreement.”

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In the end, Segares wanted to stay in Chicago and the Fire wanted their eight-year fixture at left back to return and that’s exactly what happened.

While MLS and its clubs do not disclose terms of deals, the latest MLS Players Union salary numbers list Segares as the highest paid full-time left back in the league at $210,000.

With the Fire presumably needing to spend money in other areas of the field, Segares opted out of the Re-Entry process and it’s speculated that the Costa Rican international signed for less while adding more time to his contract.

Still, the waiting game from Monday to Thursday seemed like an eternity for some fans who hit to social channels to talk the possibility of losing Segares.

“It was very nice to see how much the fans appreciate me and I’d definitely like to thank all of them for that support. It definitely shows they’re really happy with how hard I’ve worked for this club. It’s nice to see that people appreciate you and at the same time I appreciate everyone in the organization and the fans that are always there, especially from Section 8 and Sector Latino.”

 With his playing future sealed, Segares can now focus full attention on a more personal moment more important than any of his 207 competitive appearances for the Fire: Wedding Day.

Segares returned to Costa Rica earlier this week to finish preparations for his nuptials with his fiancé Rusty, set to take place next Saturday, December 15.

“The official news that I’d be on the first list came two days before I left to Costa Rica to get married. That was a little bit nerve wracking. Now It makes the next week of my life that much easier and we have even more to celebrate.”