BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire announced Tuesday that they had signed rookie left back Hunter Jumper. But really, the decision was made nearly two weeks ago.
When coach Frank Klopas cut veteran left back Iván Guerrero 12 days ago, it became clear how much he liked the 23-year-old defender out of Virginia, who the Fire selected with the 28th pick in the January's SuperDraft.
“We’ve liked him since the Combine,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com after the Fire’s first practice of the season at Toyota Park. “He’s got great ability to get out and make passes from the back. In the short time we’ve seen him, he’s adjusted really well.”
Jumper looks like he’ll back up Gonzalo Segares at left back and provide extra depth in central defense.
“It’s really rewarding,” Jumper told MLSsoccer.com. “It was just a really good feeling, because we spent a really hard month working out in Ave Maria, Fla., and then California, and I’ve just really been getting used to the speed and getting used to the guys.”
Klopas still has decisions to make on two other draft picks: Lucky Mkosana, who the Fire picked 23rd overall, and Tony Walls, who the Fire took with the 47th pick in the Supplemental Draft.
Mkosana, who has been going back and forth between preseason camp and Dartmouth, finishes school this week. Klopas will be able to better evaluate the Zimbabwean attacker when he’s with the team permanently.
The decision on Walls, who has played mostly right back in preseason, will be quicker.
“I’ll give Lucky a week or two weeks where he’s with the team every day,” Klopas said. “With Tony, he’s been with us a while. Hopefully we’ll make a decision on him by the end of this week.”