The day before returning for his seventh season in Chicago last week, Chris Rolfe celebrated his 30th birthday. Despite turning over that sometimes dreaded milestone, the club’s 2012 Most Valuable Player feels better than ever.
WATCH: Preseason Check-In | Chris Rolfe
“No I don’t feel like an old man,” he jokingly told Chicago-Fire.com. “I’m feeling good, I’m excited for the season, excited to be here from the start because that’s huge. It’s where you get your fitness base, chemistry from your teammates and understanding of what the coaches want.”
The chemistry building Rolfe talks about could be most important when it comes to continuing an understanding with striker partner Sherjill MacDonald as they both go into their first preseason camp together.
“I feel great already,” said MacDonald. “In the first few training sessions, I feel with Rolfie we’ve already had some direct connections. I feel very good, I’m excited to play with him again and of course it’s easier this year with the preparation.
“I know everyone already and I’m just excited. I just want to make a very good preseason.”
At this time last year, Rolfe was of course winding down his time with Aalborg BK in Denmark while MacDonald was with Belgian side Germinal Beerschot, still another transfer window away from joining the Fire.
By the time the pair finally did begin playing together at the end of August, the team started to flourish, winning seven of eight matches with the attacking duo putting much of their combined 12 goals and seven assists in that time.
“We were fortunate when [Mack] first came things went really well,” said Rolfe.
But like other parts of the team down the stretch, the two didn’t exactly click as the Fire ended the season with just one win in six matches.
“Towards the end [of the season] you can see where that broke down. There were a number of reasons for that. I think probably the reason that our chemistry lacked was that we were trying to solve the issues ourselves instead of doing it as a team.
“[Being together from the beginning] will give us the chance to restart that and get our paths in line."