Chicago Fire SuperDraft quote sheet
Damani Ralph, Ante Razov and Andy Herron are great players. I'm just going to come in, work as hard as I can and see what can happen."
FIRE FIRST-ROUND (10TH OVERALL) SELECTION DEFENDER JACK STEWART:
On joining the Fire:
"I'm a big fan of MLS and a big fan of the Fire. Going to school out at Notre Dame, I would go see some Fire games in the summer. This will be great because I can have the guys out at Notre Dame come out and see me. The Midwest is my new home after coming out from California. I feel comfortable out here now so I'm very excited. I can't complain one bit."
On growing up with Major League Soccer and the progress it has shown:
"I remember going to the first Galaxy game, and during the inaugural season it was just like, 'Is this thing going to last?' MLS has been amazing these past couple of years in producing some great players. Our national team speaks for itself in picking players from the league. The majority of the players have been in or are coming back to MLS because it is such a great league."
On learning from his fellow Fire backline teammates:
"Every chance I get to learn from someone I admire and respect, it will be a great learning experience for me. Hopefully I'll eventually become what they are today."
FIRE THIRD-ROUND (35TH OVERALL) SELECTION DEFENDER GONZALO SEGARES:
On being drafted by Chicago:
"I'm really excited. I was very nervous at the beginning because I wasn't certain where I was going to go. But I'm really thankful that Chicago gave me a chance to go there and play for the team. I will give my best to try to make the team."
On whether or not he knew what to expect on draft day:
"Not really. The past few days and at the combine I heard so much stuff, so many things about where I might go, but I didn't have a clue about where I was going. I'm glad it is Chicago and we'll see how it goes."
On whether or not he considered playing in a league other than MLS:
"I was very set on coming to MLS since I came here four years ago. That was my goal, to make it to MLS. That's what I'm here for."
FIRE HEAD COACH DAVE SARACHAN
On whether or not the Fire drafted for immediate help or roster depth:
"It was a little bit of both. I think there's going to be a tremendous level of competition in our training camp because you can't discount any of the players we picked in terms of moving up the depth chart. So I think we accomplished both."
On the departure of Henry Ring:
"The two years I had with Henry were great. He's a great professional, evidenced by the fact that he was given his opportunity last year and ran with it. We felt that the opportunity to have Zach back in the net for us was the decision to make, but in no way does that take away from Henry's accomplishments. Even though we didn't make the playoffs last year, that was not the fault of Henry Ring -- he was an All-Star goalkeeper. I'm very excited for Henry because I believe he belongs in our league. I wish him good luck in Dallas and hope he gets the chance he deserves."
On first-round selection forward Chad Barrett:
"Chad is a prototypical forward, a young kid who is extremely strong, hits the ball well with both feet, knows how to play with his back to goal and is a dangerous forward. He is young, but I think he can step in at this stage physically and handle himself in MLS, as evidenced by his role with the U-20s now. We wanted to add a little depth to the forward line and we think we did that with Chad."
On first-round selection defender Jack Stewart:
"I have seen Jack, and my staff has seen Jack, a number of times, and we just think he's a versatile defender. He's got size, strength, is very good with both feet and is excellent in the air. To me, he was the top defender in college soccer. We were thrilled that, at the 10th pick, Jack was still on the board."
On getting both Barrett and Stewart:
"We were torn because we felt Jack would go before the 10th pick, so having the opportunity to get [Chad and Jack], we were extremely thrilled."
On third-round selection defender Gonzalo Segares:
"Again, he was a guy we had on our list who, I felt, had an excellent combine. I know the VCU coaches and we did our homework, feeling that this was a very savvy collegiate player after growing up in Costa Rica. He reads the game very well. I was very surprised he dropped that far."
On fourth round selection Karim Dietz:
"A little bit of a sleeper. He didn't play at a big profile or top 20 type of program, but it is a very good program. Daryl [Shore] has a close connection with that program and he has kept an eye on Karim. He's a versatile guy, he can play wide on the right or up front as well. We think he's a bit of a sleeper that could be a good surprise for us."
On former Fire Reserves 'Boyzzz' Khumalo and Chris Rolfe:
"Boyzzz reads soccer very well, and you can't teach quickness and speed, which he has. He's not a big kid, but he's got the tools. With Chris Rolfe, he's another smart soccer player that we've seen and kept an eye on. I thought he had a very good combine. He's a smart guy that can play and will provide some help."
FIRE PRESIDENT/GM PETER WILT
On the Fire's draft and the club's first selection, Chad Barrett:
"I feel we addressed our positional needs very well today. Obviously, Ante Razov's return to the Fire next year is in question, so it was important that we strengthen ourselves up front. Chad [Barrett] is going to be a quality player in Major League Soccer. He's a young player with tremendous physical skills. He'll be in an environment where he can learn and develop, and he has the opportunity to become one of the premiere forwards in our league."
On first-round selection Jack Stewart:
"We were thrilled, surprised and almost shocked that he slipped to No. 10. We were working hard to try to move up in the draft so we could get his services. We thought he might go as high as two or four, and to be able to get him at 10 without having to give up anything was real good fortune. He's a talented defender and can play either centrally or on the right side. He's someone who will be able to step in when called upon. Neither Chad or Jack are players that you would call "projects." They are talented players that can help out."
On second round-pick Will John:
"Will John is more of a player for the future, but he's a great athlete and has some terrific skills. He has shown on the U-20 national team that he is a very talented player. He gives us depth on the left side. And again, we were surprised that he was available where he was."
On third-round selection Gonzalo Segares:
"Gonzalo Segares is arguably the most talented defender in the draft. We knew he would drop a little because of his immigration status, but we have room for a Youth International so he'll get every opportunity to fill that spot. He's a talented defender and again we feel fortunate for him dropping down so low in the draft."
On Chris Rolfe and Boyzzz Khumalo:
"The two Fire Reserves players, we were very happy to get them. Chris Rolfe, again, we were trying to work hard to move up in the second round to be in a position to get him. None of those deals worked, but finally we were able to trade right in front of San Jose to steal him, because I know for a fact that they were going to pick him. I talked to Chris and he was happy that we traded up and were able to make sure he stayed home to play for the Fire. [Fire Reserves head coach] Mike Matkovich and I talked a lot about Chris and his abilities at the next level, and he's got the talent to make it. Boyzzz Khumalo is a speed demon. He's shown that he's got some unique skills that will translate at the next level."
On the Fire's fourth-round selection, Karim Dietz:
"Karim Dietz is a German player that Daryl Shore is very familiar with, playing at his old school, Birmingham Southern. He's a midfielder who's got some scoring skills, could play some forward if need be and give us some depth up front."
On the depth the Fire Reserves PDL squad contributed to the 2005 MLS SuperDraft:
"It's great that our development team, the Fire Reserves, can produce some players, not just for us but all of MLS. Nine of the 48 players, by my count, have Fire Reserves experience. It was at least eight."
On the opportunities this year's draft picks will have:
"The expanded rosters this year, the introduction of the development league, are creating opportunities for some of these guys. Certainly the Generation adidas (the former Nike Project-40 program) guys, Chad Barrett and Will John, will be added to that developmental roster, and then the other guys will have chances to fight for a senior roster spot and, if not that, a spot on the developmental roster. The reserve team will give all these young players opportunities to develop and get better, more than they have had in the past."