BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire players met for the first time with new head coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop Wednesday morning. The meeting was their first real interaction with their new boss, save for forward Quincy Amarikwa who is familiar with the Canadian manager.
It was Yallop that drafted the athletic forward in the third round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and served as head coach for the first year-and-a-half of his professional career.
“I enjoyed playing for Frank,” Amarikwa said Wednesday. “I like his training style, his demeanor, how he carries himself. He’s a good person, I enjoyed my time in San Jose a lot and I think it was a good place for me to start out my rookie year. Where I’m at now is a result of my year and a half there.”
Though Yallop was the coach that drafted him, he was also the one that traded Amarikwa to Colorado in early 2010. With the Rapids going on a Cinderella MLS Cup run that season, it was a move that Amarikwa joked, “Worked out alright for me.”
Amarikwa has had somewhat of a career sojourn through MLS, playing with four different teams in five seasons, often seeing limited minutes throughout.
Still, his move to the Fire in 2013 provided somewhat of a breakthrough.
Though he had the second lowest minutes total of his career, Amarikwa became an oft-used super-sub off the bench, tallying a career high three goals in just 299 minutes, while providing danger to opposing and tired defenders at the end of games. He also led the Fire reserves with six goals.
Set to enter his sixth MLS season, the forward hopes his performance in limited minutes combined with a new coach that’s familiar with him might translate into something more going in to 2014.
“It’s not my decision to make,” he said. “All I can do is continue what I’m doing -- score goals in reserve matches and exhibitions and score in the few minutes I get in first team games. It’s just down to showing myself on a more consistent basis.
“Most coaches when they come in are bringing in their own guys or guys they know personally or through colleagues. In this instance, this happens to be the guy that drafted me – hopefully it plays in my favor but you never know.”
Amarikwa should get a decent idea of where he stands rather soon.
A new agreement between MLS and the Players Union means non-playoff teams aren’t allowed to train together formally past Wednesday. As a result, Fire players took their exit physicals Wednesday and began one-on-one meetings with Yallop that will extend through Friday before being free to leave for the offseason.