Rutgers alum gets 2nd chance at MLS via Fire open tryout

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Sam Archer knew he just needed one more chance.

Last preseason, the undrafted forward out of Rutgers was invited to join the Colorado Rapids camp, where he was one of the club’s final cuts. But he'll get another opportunity to reach Major League Soccer after winning the Chicago Fire's open tryout in December, giving him a spot in Fire training camp later this month.

“I learned not to take anything for granted, really,” Archer told MLSsoccer.com. “I expected to make it, but at the end of the day, I didn't. That day just taught me that I'm almost there, I really just need to push it a little bit more, and I can really make it.”

The Fire announced earlier this week that Archer was the winner of the open tryout, an annual event for the club that drew 150 players last month.

Archer wasn't planning on attending any open tryouts this season, and instead hoped to use the connections he built with the Rapids and through his time with the Harrisburg City Islanders and the Wilmington Hammerheads last season to secure a training camp invite.

But Archer's mom, who he said is “like an agent,” regularly surfed MLS team websites throughout the year. When she saw the Fire were having an open tryout, she her son had to attend.

“I thought he needs to have sources, he needs to have options,” Monica Archer said. “That's one way of getting onto an MLS team is going to an open tryout.”

The 6-foot, 165 pound forward told MLSsoccer.com that he's at his best when he's taking on defenders one-on-one. He's most comfortable running off of a bigger defender, but he's also comfortable holding the ball as a forward.

At Rutgers, Archer played as an outside forward in a 4-3-3 formation, and he's comfortable playing on the wing. The Fire have plenty of competition for both those shots, but Archer's versatility may give him a shot at making the Fire's roster.

“I know my ability, but the experience I had in Colorado confirmed to me that I definitely have the chance to make it at the next level,” Archer said. “I really believe and know that I just have to keep working hard and keep pushing.”