The Chicago Fire are set to begin their 2012 MLS preseason this week, with players arriving to Toyota Park Wednesday, undergoing two days of medical exams before departing for the first leg of the club’s preseason on Friday, January 20 in Ave Maria, Fla. In conjunction with the Chicago Fire Juniors-Florida, based out of Naples, Frank Klopas’ side will spend 15 days training on the campus of Ave Maria University before departing for New Orleans, La. where the team will visit the Chicago Fire Juniors-Louisiana and play an international friendly match against Honduran side Real C.D. España on Saturday, February 4, 5:00 p.m. CT at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Additionally, the club today announced the first team will head to Ventura, Calif. from February 8-18 for the second leg of its 2012 preseason tour, returning to Chicago for a few days before departing again for the final leg from February 21-March 5 in Charleston, S.C. as part of the 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup.
See below the club’s full 2012 preseason schedule.
January 18-19: Players arrive to Toyota Park for physicals
January 20-February 3: First Team trains in Ave Maria, Fla.
Sunday, January 29 – Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United – 1:00 p.m. CT – Florida Gulf Coast University
Wednesday, February 1 – Chicago Fire vs. Florida Gulf Coast University – 6:00 p.m. CT – Ave Maria University
February 3-5: First Team trains in New Orleans, La.
Saturday, February 4 - Chicago Fire vs. Real C.D. Espana (HON) – 5:00 p.m. CT – Tad Gormley Stadium
February 5: First Team returns to Chicago
February 8-18: First Team trains in Ventura, Calif.
February 18: First Team returns to Chicago
February 21-March 5: First Team trains in Charleston, S.C. as part of 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup
Saturday, February 25 - Chicago Fire vs. DC United – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Wednesday, February 29 – Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Saturday, March 3 – Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery (USL) – 6:15 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
March 5: First Team returns to Chicago
FIRE PICK UP THREE IN 2012 MLS SUPERDRAFT
The Chicago Fire came away with three players at last week’s 2012 MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, Mo., picking defender Austin Berry (Louisville) ninth overall, striker Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth) 23rd overall and defender Hunter Jumper (Virginia) 28th overall.
With their first round selection, the team selected Berry, a former Chicago Fire Premier defender out of the University of Louisville. The 23-year-old appeared in 95 matches, starting 87, in his time with the Cardinals, tallying 11 goals and five assists. As a redshirt Junior, Berry was an integral piece in leading Louisville to a the NCAA College Cup Final. The 2010 and 2011 All-Big East Conference First teamer appeared in all 16 matches scoring one goal as a member of the Chicago Fire Premier during the 2010 USL Premier Development League campaign.
With the ninth selection, Berry became the first of 11 Chicago Fire Premier alumni picked in the annual draft, breaking the team’s own USL Premier Development League record of 10 former players selected set at the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. The number reflects 29% of the 38 players selected as being Fire Premier alumni.
The team went for an attacking piece with their next selection, choosing 2011 Ivy League MVP Mkosana from Dartmouth College. While with the Big Green, the stealthy forward bagged 34 goals to become the school’s all-time leading scorer while adding 10 assists in 73 appearances from 2008-11. A green-card holder, Mkosana is a four-time All-Ivy League First Team selection. Hailing from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Mkosana appeared in 10 matches, scoring one goal for the Michigan Bucks during the 2011 Premier Development League Season
With their final selection, Frank Klopas’ technical staff looked to add depth on the backline, selecting Jumper out of the University of Virginia. The Plano, Texas product started and appeared in 79 matches, tallying five goals and nine assists as a left back for the Cavaliers from 2008-11. At 6-2, 180 pounds, Jumper was a 2011 NSCAA Second Team Regional selection and has previously played for the U.S. U-17 and U-18 national teams.
The team will look to add more players to its preseason training camp roster in Tuesday’s 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, set to be held via conference call beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT. Follow the Supplemental Draft live via MLSsoccer.com.
FIRE SIGN URUGUAYAN FORWARD FEDERICO PUPPO
The Chicago Fire last Wednesday announced the signing of Uruguayan striker Federico Puppo from Primera Division side Danubio FC. The 25-year-old attacker joins Rafael Robayo as the second South American talent to join the Men in Red as the Fire build its team ahead of the 2012 campaign.
Puppo joins the Fire from Primera División Uruguaya side Danubio F.C., where he appeared in 10 matches, scoring two goals while helping la Franja to a second place finish during the 2011 Apertura campaign.
Prior to his time with Danubio, Puppo played for Montevideo-based Club Atletico River Plate from 2006-11, where he appeared in 57 league matches, scored 17 goals and helped the club to the 2008 Clausura championship. With their 2008 finish, the club qualified for the following year’s CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana where they achieved the best finish in club history, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. Puppo began his professional career with Montevideo Wanderers, appearing in nine matches from 2004-06.
Named to the Uruguay squad that took part in the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico, Puppo made two appearances, scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 tournament-opening win over Ecuador on October 21, en route to a third place finish at the tournament.
Keep up with all of the club’s offseason transactions here.
2012 SEASON TICKET HOLDERS ENTERED TO WIN FREE PRESEASON TRIP TO CHARLESTON, S.C.
All Chicago Fire Season Ticket Holders that have newly bought or renewed their seats for 2012 by Feb. 3 are eligible to be chosen for a trip for two to see the team in its final preseason match vs. the Charleston Battery as part of the Carolina Challenge Cup, Saturday, March 3 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
Season Ticket Holders will receive one entry for every full 2012 Season Ticket purchased, with the Fire providing round-trip airfare for two, one night hotel stay and match tickets to the preseason clash.
Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473) or by visiting www.ourcityourclub.com.
JOHNSON JOINS JURGEN KLINSMANN’S U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM CAMP
After participating in two U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team camps as well as a 10-day training stint with English Premier League side Everton F.C., Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was recently included in Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. Men’s National Team training camp in Glendale, Ariz. and Carson, Calif. ahead of friendlies vs. Venezuela (January 21) and at Panama (January 25).
The call-up is the 22-year-old ‘keeper’s first for the senior team since making his debut under Bob Bradley in a 1-1 friendly draw vs. Chile, January 22, 2011 in Carson, Calif. Read up on Sean’s camp experience so far here.
FIRE TO OPEN UP 2012 MLS CAMPAIGN MARCH 17 AT EXPANSION MONTREAL, HOST OPENING DAY MARCH 24 AGAINST PHILADELPHIA UNION
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club, in conjunction with Major League Soccer and its national television partners, unveiled the 2012 regular season schedule Thursday. The Fire are slated to appear in a total of 13 nationally televised broadcasts throughout its 15th season of MLS play. The Fire kick off the 2012 MLS campaign with a visit to the expansion Montreal Impact in the club’s first home match Saturday, March 17 at Olympic Stadium (2:00 PM CT). The Fire’s full schedule can be seen at Chicago-Fire.com/schedule.
The Fire host Opening Day at Toyota Park against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM CT. Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.
For more information on the club’s 2012 MLS Regular Season schedule, click here.
FIRE IN THE NEWS
Fire plucks Louisville defender Berry in MLS SuperDraft – Tina Akouris – Chicago Sun-Times – Jan. 12, 2012
Fire goes for defense in MLS Draft – Orrin Schwarz – The Daily Herald – Jan. 12, 2012
Fire sign Uruguayan striker Federico Puppo – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – Jan. 11, 2012
Conway officially announces retirement – Katie Fowler – CSNChicago.com – Jan. 10, 2012
11 Fire Premier to MLS – Jan. 13, 2012
Conway Unsung, Player MLS Built its Back on – Jan. 10, 2012
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