CHICAGO FIRE BEGIN PREPARATIONS FOR 2013 MLS SEASON
With Fire players schedule to report for duty on Friday, Jan. 18, preparations are in full swing as the Men in Red look to kick off their 16th season.
Major League Soccer and the Fire will unveil the full, 2013 MLS Regular Season schedule on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 11:00 a.m. CT. Check www.Chicago-Fire.com and follow @ChicagoFire on Twitter for all of the latest news.
As the squad begins to take shape, Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas and members of the Fire technical staff will be attending the MLS Combine from Jan. 11-15 at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla. to evaluate the more than 50 young, aspiring soccer players over the course of three match days. Additional information on the 2013 MLS Combine can be found here.
Following the Combine, Major League Soccer will hold the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 11:00 a.m. CT. The Fire currently hold the 11th overall pick in the first round. In 2012, the Fire drafted Austin Berry ninth overall out of the University of Louisville. Berry went on to appear in 29 consecutive MLS Regular Season Matches en route to 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year honors.
JOHNSON JOINS JURGEN KLINSMANN’S U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM CAMP
After training stints with English Premier League sides Stoke City and Everton F.C., Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was named to U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for the annual January Camp at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from Jan. 7 – 27. The three-week training camp will culminate with an international friendly against Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Jan. 29 at 8:00 p.m. CT (ESPN2).
This is the third consecutive year the 23-year-old Fire 'keeper will begin the year training with the national team. Johnson was most recently called up for the United States' international friendly against Russia Nov. 14, 2012.
Johnson made his international debut Jan. 22, 2011 against Chile at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Johnson has been capped twice for the United States, earning his second cap Jan. 25, 2012 against Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Johnson played the second half and preserved the shutout in a 1-0 victory.
In 2012, Johnson appeared in a career-high 31 regular season games for the Men in Red, accumulating a 16-10-5 record, including five shutouts. Johnson's 1.24 goals against average was the lowest in his three years as a professional. Johnson made 108 saves in 2012, including a career-high ten saves against the San Jose Earthquakes July 28.
CHICAGO FIRE ACQUIRE MIDFIELDER JOEL LINDPERE
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club acquired Joel Lindpere from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for a 2013 International Roster Spot. Per team and MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Estonian international made his professional debut for Estonian Meistriliiga side JK Nõmme Kalju in 1997, scoring 14 goals in just seven games. He also represented Estonian sides Lelle SK, FC Flora and FC Valga. In 2004 he transferred to Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia where he made 11 appearances. From 2007-09, Lindpere scored five goals in 75 appearances for Norwegian club Tromso IL before joining the Red Bulls in 2010.
A product of Tallinn, Estonia, Lindpere made his international debut for Estonia on Nov. 1, 1999 in a friendly against the United Arab Emirates. He scored his first international goal on Feb. 18, 2004 in a 1-0 win over Moldova, and has since scored five goals in 83 total appearances for his country.
CHRIS ROLFE TO TAKE PART IN “SOCCER NIGHT IN NEWTOWN”
Chicago Fire forward Chris Rolfe will participate in “Soccer Night in Newtown” on Monday, Jan. 7, a special soccer event that was created by Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti, a Guilford, Conn. native.
Open only to Newtown residents and members of the Connecticut Football Club youth programs, Canetti mobilized the American soccer community to give residents of Newtown an afternoon of soccer to take their minds off the recent tragic events.
Rolfe, the 2012 Chicago Fire MVP and Golden Boot winner, will join more than 30 of his fellow MLS players and a number of U.S. National Team players and legends, including Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones and Mia Hamm, to play in small-sided games, sign autographs and talk about the beautiful game.
CHICAGO FIRE TO MAKE THREE STOPS DURING 2013 PRESEASON
The Chicago Fire will make three stops ahead of the club’s 16th MLS season. Fire players will arrive at Toyota Park on Friday, Jan. 18 and undergo two days of medical exams before departing for the first leg of the club’s preseason camp on Sunday, Jan. 20 in Ave Maria, Fla. During the 10-day camp on the campus of Ave Maria University, the Fire will play preseason friendlies against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3:00 p.m. CT before heading to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. to take on the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 10:00 a.m. CT.
The Fire will then head to Venura, Calif. from Feb. 2-10 for the second leg of preseason. The Men in Red will close out their time on the West Coast with a match against the 2012 MLS Supporters Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes at Oxnard College with date and time to be determined.
For the third straight year, the Fire will close out preseason from Feb. 13 – 24 in Charleston, S.C. as part of the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup where they will face 2012 MLS Cup Finalists Houston Dynamo, 2012 USL Pro Champions Charleston Battery and fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Tickets for the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup are available at (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or www.charlestonbattery.com. Information on preseason match livestreams on Chicago-Fire.com will be released at a later date.
See below the club’s full 2013 preseason schedule.
January 18-19: Players arrive at Toyota Park for physicals
January 20: First team travels to Ave Maria, Fla.
January 21-30: First Team trains in Ave Maria, Fla.
Sunday, January 27 – Chicago Fire vs. Florida Gulf Coast University – 3:00 p.m. CT
Wednesday, January 30 – Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – Time TBD – IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
January 30: First Team returns to Chicago
February 2-10: First Team trains in Ventura, Calif.
Wednesday, February 6 - TBD
Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Time and date TBD – Oxnard College, Oxnard, Calif.
February 10: First Team returns to Chicago
February 13-24: First Team trains in Charleston, S.C. as part of 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup
Saturday, February 16 – Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Wednesday, February 20 – Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery – 6:15 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
Sunday, February 24 – Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium
February 26: Training begins in Chicago
March 3: MLS First Kick: Chicago Fire at LA Galaxy, Time TBD
March 9: Opening Day at Toyota Park: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution
FIRE TO OPEN UP 2013 MLS CAMPAIGN MARCH 3 AT TWO-TIME DEFENDING MLS CUP CHAMPIOINS LA GALAXY, HOST OPENING DAY MARCH 9 AGAINST NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Chicago Fire will host the New England Revolution for Opening Day at Toyota Park on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network). The Men in Red will begin their 16th season on the road the previous week when they visit two-time defending MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. CT (Univision). The Fire will also take on Eastern Conference foe Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network) to round out the first three matches of the club’s 2013 campaign.
Chicago Fire Season Tickets and #cf97withdrawals Winter Packs, which give fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action on Opening Day while donning the four Fire hats and four pairs of Fire gloves included in the pack, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.
The Fire are 9-3-3 on Opening Day at home dating back to 1998. For only the third time in the club history, the Fire will host a MLS home opener in the month of March. The Fire are undefeated in home openers against the Revolution with a 2-0-3 record.
In 2012, Frank Klopas led his squad to a 17-11-6 record as the Fire returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Times, broadcast details and additional information for the Fire’s 16th Home Opener will be included in the entire regular season schedule, which will be announced upon its completion in the coming weeks.
Similar to 2012, each club will again play 34 games during the regular season.
FIRE IN THE NEWS
Fire acquire midfielder Lindpere from Red Bulls - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - January 4, 2013
Fire acquires Red Bulls’ Joel Lindpere for international spot - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - January 5, 2013
Fire’s Chris Rolfe heading to Newtown, Conn - Ryan Smith - RedEye Chicago - January 4, 2013
Fire acquires Lindpere; announces preseason schedule - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - January 4, 2013
Fire’s Johnson: “I’m returning from Everton a better player” - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - January 4, 2013
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
One-on-One: Klopas talks offseason scouting and more player movement – January 7, 2013
After a busy December, Johnson excited to be back with National Team – January 6, 2013
KLOPAS: “Lindpere will fit in well with our team” – January 4, 2013
Rolfe to take part in “Soccer Night in Newtown” – January 4, 2013
CHICAGO FIRE BEGIN PREPARATIONS FOR 2013 MLS SEASON