Player Development Update

Fire Player Development Update


The Chicago Fire U-18 and U-16 Academy squads began play this week in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Frisco, Texas. The U-18s dropped their first game 2-1 and won their second with an identical score line. The U-16s won their group opener 4-2.

On Monday, June 25 the top ranked U-18s were upset 2-1 by the Concorde Fire from Atlanta, Ga. The Chicago Fire scored first when Luis Barajas found the back of the net in the 44th minute. Concorde Fire continued to press and late in the game, found a 70th minute equalizer from Drew Morgan and a 88th minute game winner from Alexander Kowalski to defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1. The defeat was the team’s first since a 1-0 loss to Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy on Sunday, November 20, 2011.

Tuesday, June 26 saw the Fire U-16s open post-season play with a 4-2 win in a back-and-forth affair with Clearwater Chargers from Clearwater, Fla.

The Fire opened scoring with Jeffrey Farina’s 24th minute strike. Minutes later the Chargers’ Danny Lane found his first goal of the night in the 28th minute. Just a minute later, the Fire’s Marcus Epps put the Fire ahead in the 29th minute. The Chargers would equalize again when Lane scored his second of the night in the 34th minute. The Fire scored two unanswered goals when Farina and Epps completed their respective braces in the 40th and 44th minute to give the Fire a 4-2 win.

In the second Fire match of the day, the U-18s took on Albertson SC from Long Island, N.Y.

After a scoreless first half, substitute Joey Calistri won a penalty kick for the Fire. Victor Pineda stepped up and calmly converted the ensuing kick to give the Fire the lead in the 74th minute. Albertson equalized with Jake Freeman’s goal in the 83rd minute but the Fire’s Manny Chavez scored in the 90th minute to give the Fire the late 2-1 victory.

The U-18s final match of the playoffs pits them against current group leaders Solar Chelsea SC from Dallas, Texas. on Thursday, June 28 at 11:00am CT. In order to advance to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals Week, the Fire must win by a minimum of three goals and have Concorde Fire not win by more than four.

The U-16s continue play when they face the Seattle Sounders FC Academy Wednesday night at 6:30pm CTa nd Real Salt Lake – Arizona Academy Friday, June 29 at 9:00am CT.  All matches can be followed live via @ChiFireMatch on Twitter.

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that tryouts for the 2012/2013 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams have been set for Tuesday, July 10 at Toyota Park Turf Field for players at the U-18 and U-16 age levels.

Founded in 2007 as part of Major League Soccer's Home Grown Initiative, Developmental Academy members that spend a minimum of two years in the Chicago Fire's Player Development program are eligible to be signed directly by the club, rather than enter the MLS SuperDraft where they can be selected by any of the league's teams. The Fire first team currently boasts two Home Grown players in Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley.
Fully funded by the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, the Academy's only criteria for selection is a player's ability and potential along with a desire to become a professional athlete. Information on the tryouts can be found at

Chicago Fire Academy Tryouts – July 10, 2012

Age Group                                          Time                         Location
U-15 (1997) & U-16 (1996)            4:30 p.m. CT           Toyota Park Turf Field
U-17 (1995) & U-18 (1994)            6:30 p.m. CT           Toyota Park Turf Field



The Chicago Fire PDL drew the Michigan Bucks 1-1 on the Toyota Park Turf Field on Tuesday, June 26. 

The Bucks found the first goal of the match when Stefan St. Louis scored in the 27th minute. The Fire continued to press and after a number of second half chances found a late 88th minute equalizer from Eric Pothast to earn a point.

The Chicago Fire PDL (3-4-3) return to action when they again host the Bucks on Sunday, July 1 at the Toyota Park Practice Field at 1:00 p.m. CT.

Three members of the Chicago Fire U-16 Academy squad were named to the Top Drawer Soccer’s 2013 Boys Midwest Rankings.
Goalkeeper Kyle Anthony Dal Santo and midfielder Louis Bennett were ranked 1st and 2nd respectively. Midfielder A.J. Jeffries was ranked 7th. All three players are currently with the U-16s competing in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Frisco, Texas.

The full list of rankings can be found here.