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Chicago Fire FC rookie Mauricio Pineda has contract extended through 2021

Mauricio Pineda - Chicago Fire FC - goal celebration


What a week it’s been for Chicago Fire FC defender/midfielder Mauricio Pineda.

One day after assisting Robert Beric and then scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 win over Seattle at the MLS is Back Tournament, Pineda saw his 2021 contract option exercised. The Homegrown Player is now under contract with Chicago through next year, and there are club options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

“Mauricio quickly impressed our staff at the beginning of the season and has continued to prove himself each day during an unusual first professional season,” Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz said in a release. “We’re always proud to see one of our Homegrown Players succeed with the first team, and Mauricio has shown that he is capable of competing at a very high level. We are confident that he will continue to work hard and build on his strong start.”

Pineda, 22, joined the club in January after spending four years at North Carolina and twice earning First Team All-ACC honors. He’s stepped right into Chicago’s lineup under new head coach Raphael Wicky, starting all three matches and showing versatility by appearing as a center back and deep-lying midfielder.

Before turning heading to UNC, Pineda helped Chicago win its first U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) national championship in 2015. He’s featured for both the U-18 and U-20 US youth national teams.

"To be honest, I didn’t know much about Mauricio," Wicky said after the Fire's win over Seattle. "Obviously I saw a few video clips, but then as soon as we started (preseason), I saw the potential, talent and work ethic he had. He’s surprised a lot of people."