BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- One day before the start of the club’s 2014 preseason, the Chicago Fire confirmed Friday longtime midfielder Logan Pause would be returning to the Men in Red for a 12th consecutive season.
Earlier this offseason the 32-year-old midfielder’s status as a player at the club was in doubt after having his contract option declined prior to the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft. In the end, Pause’s ability to still contribute and influence in the locker room pushed Fire leadership to bring the two-time U.S. Open Cup winner back in 2014.
“From ownership on down, we felt that it was imperative to have Logan remain an important part of this club,” head coach Frank Yallop said in a press release. “Logan has been an integral part of this team for the past 11 years, and he is a natural, respected leader.”
“I’m incredibly blessed and grateful to Andrew [Hauptman], Frank [Yallop] and his staff for the confidence in bringing me back and wanting me to be around to help move things forward,” Pause told Chicago-Fire.com.
“I feel like I have the same emotions as if I signed for the first time 11 years ago. I’m excited to get started with the guys and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to play another year for this club and in front of these wonderful fans.”
Selected in the third round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, the veteran defensive midfielder has averaged 25 appearances in his 11 seasons with the Men in Red. He sits second on the club’s all-time MLS appearance list with 274 games played, trailing only newly-named Fire assistant coach C.J. Brown who has 296.
With the addition of Jeff Larentowicz last January, Pause did however see a drop in playing time in 2013. Still, he says he’s re-signed to compete and expects to fight for his spot on the field this season as well as continue his role as a veteran presence in the locker room.
“I don’t see my role changing much, if at all. My responsibilities on the field remain the same and that’s to continue to try get out there and help our team win games. Obviously that comes with responsibilities in the locker room, with the guys around me to try and push them forward but I don’t see much change in my role.
With his re-signing, Pause ties longtime MLS veteran midfielders Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy; 1996-2007) and Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids; 2002-2013) for the second longest consecutive tenure with one MLS club at 12 seasons.
Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause returns to the Men in Red for a 12th consecutive season on January 24, 2014
Again, the trio sits behind only Brown who spent 13 consecutive seasons with Fire from 1998-2010.
“To be mentioned with those sort of names is frightening to me,” he joked. “Most of it I can just credit my great teammates and coaches I’ve had – people that just believed in me and stuck with me throughout the years. I don’t take for granted that I get to play soccer for a living and to do it for the Chicago Fire is very special.”
As for being reunited with Brown, Pause was delighted to see his former teammate of eight seasons return as an assistant coach under Yallop last month.
“I can’t talk enough about the guy he is, the teammate he was and what he’s meant to this club for so many years. What a great asset we’re getting back. I know that his heart and soul, as is mine, is a part of this club. He’s ingrained in the fabric since its inception and to get a guy like him back on the coaching staff is incredible for this club, the team and the players that will get to work with him now.”
PHOTOS: Logan Pause Through the Years