CHICAGO (Jan. 10, 2018) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Wednesday that the club has signed defender Grant Lillard as a Homegrown Player. Lillard is under contract for the 2018 and 2019 seasons with club options for 2020 and 2021.
“It’s a dream come true to sign with my hometown club. After moving here in high school, this is where I set as my goal to play. It’s an unbelievable experience to have it become a reality,” said Lillard. “Even with the Academy, we always talked about what it means to represent the Chicago Fire and wear the badge. To be able to do it now at the senior level and in front of hometown fans is an unbelievable honor.”
Lillard joins the Fire after a standout collegiate career at Indiana University, where he captained the Hoosiers to the College Cup final in his senior season. In 2017, Lillard started all 25 games at centerback and earned numerous accolades as IU led the nation with 18 shutouts and allowed just seven goals. A MAC Hermann Trophy finalist, Lillard was a unanimous pick as both Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten. The Hinsdale, Ill. native was additionally named First-Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches.
“Grant was always highly regarded by the club and it’s nice to see that his progression under Todd Yeagley at Indiana University has allowed this signing,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “He has obvious qualities and, with experience and refinement, has a chance to be a dominant player.”
In four years at IU, the 22-year-old started all 86 games in which he appeared, and scored 14 goals and tallied 9 assists. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Lillard was additionally named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2014 and First-Team All-Big Ten in 2015 and 2016.
A Chicago Fire U-16 and U-18 Academy product, Lillard becomes the 10th Homegrown signing in club history.
Transaction: Chicago Fire Soccer Club signs Grant Lillard as Homegrown Player.
Name: Grant Lillard
Weight: 195 lbs.
Date of Birth: Dec. 5, 1995
Hometown: Hinsdale, IL
Last Club: Indiana University (NCAA)