Anxious Fire fans may have felt it was a long time coming, but the club officially unveiled new kits and Chicago-based Quaker Oats as the club’s jersey sponsor Tuesday. Wednesday, the team made another splash, this time announcing that Mexican international Pavel Pardo would be returning to the club, signing a two-year contract in 2012.
“I’m very happy to be back with the Fire,” Pardo told Chicago-Fire.com upon his arrival to Toyota Park Wednesday. “It’s an exciting time to come back in, start preseason and push towards a successful year.”
Having joined the club last July, the veteran of 148 appearances for Mexico made an immediate impact, playing in thirteen matches while providing one goal and five assists. The former Club America and Stuttgart man joined fellow midseason signing Sebastian Grazzini in locking down the midfield, while pushing the side to a 7-2-1 finish and within three points of an MLS Cup playoff berth.
“I’m starting with the team from the beginning of the year which I think is so important to how we develop as a group. I know the club well, I know my teammates and I think we have a great base heading into 2012 because we had so many new players last year. This season there will be less new faces and we’ll be starting off on a much stronger foot.”
Pardo and the his Fire teammates will head to Ave Maria, Fla. Friday to begin 2012 preseason training camp. The team will play matches against January 29 vs. DC United and February 1 vs. Florida Gulf Coast University before departing for an international friendly match February 4 vs. Honduran side Real Espana in New Orleans, La. to conclude the first phase of the club’s 2012 preseason.
Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.