The Chicago Fire have welcomed a new player to Toyota Park with the signing announcement of Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald as a designated player Tuesday morning.
“I’m very excited,” MacDonald told Chicago-Fire.com Tuesday. “It’s good. The facilities are very nice, I don’t know all the players yet but the first training session was great today. I saw the game on Saturday [vs. Aston Villa] – if you see the stadium, the pitch it’s not difficult to get excited about playing here.”
Sherjill MacDonald Signs
A product of the famed Ajax youth system, MacDonald’s career has taken him through Holland, Germany, England and Belgium where he most recently played with Jupiler League side Germinal Beerschot the past three seasons.
The 27-year-old striker comes off one of the best seasons of his career, finishing second on the Antwerp-based club’s goal scoring list with seven tallies to his name.
“Obviously I’ve seen the team play and been with them already. With my type of playing style I hope to create more chances, score a few goals and give assists. Looking at the last few games, I think the team has done well defensively, if we can score more goals we’ll be in good shape.”
Asked about what he expects MacDonald to bring to the team, Fire head coach Frank Klopas said, “He has pace, can hold the ball up top, can shoot with either foot. He’s very smart with his movement in the box. In the game as far as creating space for himself or others he does well.
“He comes from a very good school in Ajax where he spent 14 years. The Dutch have very good quality and are very technically sound. “
Rumblings about MacDonald’s signing came through his own Twitter account (@Mackie84) as he responded to a Belgian journalist’s article that made it seem as though he wasn’t enthused about coming to the U.S.
“I said that I was happy to come here but sad to leave my old team. He put it in a different context and I was a little bit angry about that because it looked like I wasn’t excited to come here. That’s not the case. That’s why I put the tweet out there, to say I was excited to come here, now everyone knows.”
As for his availability, there are two small hurdles the Fire will need to navigate: the opening of an international roster spot (expected to happen sometime Tuesday) and the evaluation of the striker’s fitness.
UPDATE: As of 3:00pm CT, the club has loaned Federico Puppo to Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting, clearing the international spot.
“I already signed here [weeks ago] but my visa wasn’t ready yet so [I was] without a team to train with. I did the first week of my team preparation [with Beerschot] but the first week is always easy.
The Dutch striker participated in full training Tuesday and showed well in his first official session as a member of the Fire.
“I’ll have to see where my fitness is at and discuss with the coaching staff. I hope to be fit for the first home game but if I can play a little bit Saturday I’ll be happy too.”