Pardo finally gets his MLS wish with Chicago contract
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Pável Pardo’s move to MLS has been a long time coming.
The 35-year-old Mexican midfielder ended months of rumors and a lengthy courtship on Tuesday when he completed his long-held ambition to play in MLS by signing a six-month contract with the Chicago Fire.
Pardo trained with the Fire on Thursday for the first time, making a good impression on his new teammates and playing alongside fellow defensive midfielder Logan Pause in a small-sided scrimmage.
The former Stuttgart man and Club América icon, who had on-and-off talks with the Fire for a couple of years before signing, spoke with the media following the afternoon practice, telling reporters that he wanted to come to MLS for most of his career.
“In my career, I’ve always had plans [to come to MLS],” he said. “I was in Europe and I said, ‘OK, I’ll stay in Germany four years or maybe five years and then come to MLS and play the last years.’
“Of course, you never know what happens in life,” he continued, “and I went back to Mexico City to play for América and [this summer] said it’s time to go to MLS. I know it was a long time talking and talking, but fortunately, I come here to Chicago and I’m very happy to start the last years in my career and the last years in football here in MLS.”
Pardo, who had options to sign with other MLS teams, said he decided to join the struggling Fire because of a good relationship with the team’s brass, namely owner Andrew Hauptman, executive Javier León and interim head coach/technical director Frank Klopas.
“[They] are really, really good people,” Pardo said. “And I think they have people working for this club who are really good people. This is important … and this is the reason that I’m here.”
Pardo, who said that he and the team will discuss extending his deal at the end of the year, now must focus on helping the Fire back into the playoff race, a task that will resume when the Fire host the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park on Wednesday night (9 p.m. ET; watch LIVE online).
He knows that picking up points against the Union is crucial — even if he won’t quite be ready to start against the Fire’s Eastern Conference foe.
“I’m not ready yet,” Pardo said. “I think maybe next week or maybe in two weeks, it depends on practice and how I feel and my body. But we have to very quickly have results. We have to think of it [one step at a time] … and the first is on Wednesday against Philadelphia and then playing Vancouver next Sunday.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.