Weekly update: Mapp to U.S. team
Mapp on Arena's Radar After First Call-Up to U.S. Men's National Team Training Camp
U.S. Soccer today announced that Fire midfielder Justin Mapp is one of 28 domestic-based players invited to participate in the final U.S. Men's National Team training camp in advance of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The three-week camp, which began this afternoon, is being held at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA through Sunday, Feb. 6, just days before Manager Bruce Arena leads the U.S. against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in the 'hexagonal' opener for both teams. After shining for various U.S. Youth National Teams over recent years, the visit to Arena's camp marks Mapp's first invitation to train with the Senior team. The 20-year-old Mapp is the youngest player invited to camp and is one of four newcomers to the U.S. MNT, joining Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) and Clyde Simms (Richmond Kickers - USL).
"I was pretty shocked to get the call. It's a great opportunity to prove myself to the guys and to Bruce," said Mapp. "Hopefully they'll respect my play. I'm going into it with the mindset to try and make the qualifying roster, that's what my main focus is now. I want to go out there and give it my best. This is also a great opportunity to get some good training as we head into the MLS season."
Fire Adds Flair With Signing of Brazilian Playmaker Thiago
The Chicago Fire today announced the signing of Brazilian midfielder Thiago da Rosa Correa on loan from Ginásio Pinhalense de Esportes Atléticos. Per Major League Soccer policy, terms of the contract were not released. The Fire used one of its six Discovery Player slots to bring Thiago to Chicago. Thiago will be classified as a Youth International player (24 years and under) alongside Haitian midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut, and per MLS guidelines, he will count towards the Fire's 18-man senior roster. Known on the field as Thiago Gaucho, the 22-year-old playmaker is expected to bring a bit of the famed Brazilian flair to the Fire midfield. Thiago is no stranger to the Fire, having trained with the club from July of 2004 through the end of the MLS regular season in October. Before coming to play in the U.S., Thiago helped lead his youth teams to several regional, country and continental titles in Brazil before making his professional debut with S.C. Internacional in 2003. Thiago most recently played for Sao Paulo side Ginásio Pinhalense de Esportes Atléticos during the first half of 2004.
Head South, Young Men! 2005 Preseason Schedule Includes Stops in Florida, Mississippi and Mexico
The Chicago Fire has released a tentative schedule for its preseason training period, which will include stops in Florida, Mississippi and Mexico over the next two months. The "Men in Red" will kick off the preseason with a weeklong camp at its training facility in north suburban Lake Forest on Tuesday, Feb. 1. After the new-look Fire squad gathers in Chicagoland, the team will head to warmer climates, beginning with a three-week camp in Bradenton, FL that will include four scrimmages and exhibition contests. The next stop for the "Men in Red" will be Guadalajara, Mexico, where the squad will train from Mar. 1-11 and is expected to play in at least three scrimmages against teams from the Mexican First and Second Divisions. Chicago will round out its preseason itinerary in Jackson, MS, where the team will stay from Mar. 18-26. The Fire will finish its trip to the "Magnolia State" with an exhibition match, with details on a date and opponent to be released in the upcoming weeks.
Chicago Fire 2005 Preseason Calendar (Dates subject to change)
Feb. 1 - Feb. 6: Training Camp at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL (Times TBD)
Feb. 7 - Feb. 25: Training Camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL
Mar. 1 - Mar. 11: Training Camp in Guadalajara, Mexico
Mar. 18 - Mar. 26: Training Camp in Jackson, MS
Monday, Mar. 28: Training at Lake Forest College practice facility begins (Time TBD)
Saturday, Apr. 2: MLS First Kick 2005 - Fire vs. FC Dallas at Soldier Field in Chicago, 7:30 p.m. CT
A True Original Returns as C.J. Brown Re-signs With Fire
The Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer announced that veteran defender C.J. Brown and the Fire have come to terms on a new contract with the League that will keep the "Fire Original" with Chicago. Per MLS policy, details of the contract were not disclosed. Brown, 29, will enter his eighth MLS campaign in Chicago in 2005 as the Fire's all-time leader in games (172) and minutes (15,098) played, and his 170 starts are tied with fellow original Jesse Marsch for the team record. The 2001 MLS All-Star has registered two goals and nine assists for 13 points during this tenure with the Fire. In addition to his work on the field, which includes 15 appearances with the U.S. Men's National Team, Brown is heavily involved in the Chicagoland community off the field as well, as evidenced by his work as a youth soccer coach in the Fire Youth Development Program and philanthropy projects that earned him back-to-back Fire/New York Life Humanitarian of the Year Awards in 2001 and 2002 and the prestigious 2003 Fire/U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year accolade.
Love Hurts... Fire to Host Valentine's Day Blood Drive
Whether you have someone to celebrate Valentine's Day with or not this year, everyone can help give the gift of life on that special day, as the Chicago Fire is partnering up with LifeSource to host a Valentine's Day Blood Drive on Monday, Feb. 14 at the Fire's downtown office, located at 980. N. Michigan Avenue (corner of Michigan and Oak), Suite 1998, from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. CT. For those interested in donating, you must be 17 years of age or older and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood. There is no upper age limit and most medications do not disqualify you from donating. If you have questions about medical or travel eligibility, please call the LifeSource Medical Help Desk at 877-543-3768. To schedule your appointment or to find out more information on the event, please call Everett Gutierrez in the Fire office at 312-705-7219. For more information on LifeSource, please visit their website at www.LifeSource.org.
Clanton Takes Time Out to Team Up With Western Michigan Fire Juniors
As part of its continuing relationship with the Western Michigan Fire Juniors, the Chicago Fire Juniors sent a delegation - led by first team defender Denny Clanton, Fire Youth Development Coordinator Paul Cadwell and former Chicago Fire Reserve player and current CFJ coach Kevin Wickhart - to Holland, Mich. over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend to conduct exclusive clinics with the official Michigan satellite club of the Chicago Fire Juniors development program. The weekend included three free clinics for players ranging from U-9 to U-18, with a question-and-answer session for Clanton and the coaches following each practice.
Fire Looks to Kick Off 2005 Season with a Bang
An old rivalry will begin anew for the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Apr. 2, when the Fire will open up its eighth season in Major League Soccer by hosting FC Dallas at Soldier Field at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Apr. 2 match will mark the continuation of the Brimstone Cup series against the re-named Dallas franchise (formerly the Dallas Burn) and will also serve as the final home opener for the Fire at Soldier Field, which will serve as the home venue for 16 games in 2005 before the club moves to its permanent home in Bridgeview in the Spring of 2006. The "Men in Red" will be looking to avenge the only two losses in a 3-2-2 record in MLS home openers, both of which have come against Dallas. FC Dallas will bring their new-look team into Soldier Field, which will include newly-acquired forward Cornell Glenn and former Fire 'keeper Henry Ring's return to Chicago. MLS's 10th season will open with First Kick 2005 and a full slate of six matches on Apr. 2, including the highly anticipated first game in the history of Club Deportivo Chivas USA as they play host to MLS Cup champion D.C. United at The Home Depot Center in a match to be broadcast live on ABC Sports (2:00 p.m. CT). The complete 2005 regular season schedule will be released later this month.