CHICAGO (May 17, 2016) – The Chicago Fire announced Tuesday that the club has signed Michael de Leeuw from Dutch Eredivisie side FC Groningen as a Discovery Signing using Targeted Allocation Money. The Dutch forward signed a three-year deal through 2018 with a club option for 2019 and will be added to the Fire roster upon receipt of his ITC and P1 Visa.
Per the league’s Discovery Process conflict resolution mechanism, the Fire acquired the right to sign de Leeuw from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.
“Michael hungers to score goals and to win,” said general manager Nelson Rodriguez. “That mentality as well as his versatility to play several of the attacking roles will be valuable additions to our club.”
The 29-year-old joins the Fire from FC Groningen, who he has represented for the past four seasons. From 2012-16, de Leeuw appeared in 117 league matches, scoring 46 goals including three hat tricks in Eredivisie play, leading his side in scoring during the 2015-16, 2014-15 and 2012-13 seasons. He also appeared in five UEFA Europa League games for The Pride of the North.
“The conversations that I had with Nelson and Pauno were very good,” said de Leeuw. “What they told me about their desired style of play, what they expect from players and the way that they work all appealed to me. To be a team that adapts to other teams was good to hear. I spoke with Johan Kappelhof many times and he had good things to say about the club and the city of Chicago, which all makes me excited to be joining the Fire.”
Born in Goirle, Netherlands, de Leeuw began his professional career with Dutch Eerste Divisie side SC Veendam in 2009. From 2009-11, de Leeuw appeared in 67 league games and scored 38 goals. He had ten multi-goal games in Veendam, including one hat trick, and scored 10 goals in 33 matches for De Graafschap during the 2011-12 season before transferring to FC Groningen in May 2012.
The striker becomes the third Dutch player on the Fire roster in 2016 and joins defender Johan Kappelhof as the second player to sign with the Fire from FC Groningen.
Full Name: Michael Jeroen Maarten Michiel de Leeuw
Pronunciation: duh lyu
Weight: 148 lbs.
Born: October 7, 1986
Hometown: Goirle, Netherlands
Last Club: FC Groningen
Acquired: Signed as a Discovery Signing using Targeted Allocation Money on May 17, 2016