CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire today selected seven players in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, which was held in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD. Chicago possessed two of the draft's top ten spots and chose UCLA forward Chad Barrett and Notre Dame defender Jack Stewart with the third and tenth overall selections, respectively. While the Fire welcomed the next new wave of players, the club said goodbye to one of its veterans after sending goalkeeper Henry Ring to FC Dallas in a draft day trade. Along with Ring - the 2004 Fire/Honda MVP - Chicago sent a second round selection in the 2006 SuperDraft in return for one of FC Dallas' third round selections in today's draft (29th overall).
"I feel really great. Coming in to today, I wasn't really sure about anything," said Barrett, who missed the draft day proceedings in Baltimore because of the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team's participation in the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the FIFA World Youth Championships at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. "I had heard about some teams being interested, but there were no real strong things so I was ready to head to anybody. Then Chicago said they needed a forward and I was very interested. Everyone says Chicago has a great team and is a great place to live, so I'm very excited to be there."
"I feel we addressed our positional needs very well today," said Fire President and GM Peter Wilt. "Obviously, Ante Razov's return to the Fire next year is in question, so it was important that we strengthen ourselves up front. Chad is going to be a quality player in Major League Soccer. 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."
In the second round, the Fire grabbed Barrett's U.S. Under-20 National Team mate Will John, a midfielder out of St. Louis University, with the 18th overall pick. After acquiring the 29th overall spot from FC Dallas, Chicago used the selection to take Chris Rolfe from Dayton University, making him the first of two former players from the Premier Development League's Chicago Fire Reserves to be taken by the senior club in today's draft. With the final two picks of the third round, Chicago selected Virginia Commonwealth and former Costa Rican youth international defender Gonzalo Segares (35th overall) and Coastal Carolina forwards and Fire Reserves alumnus Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo (36th overall). The Fire concluded its busy day by selecting German-born forward Karim Dietz from Birmingham Southern College with the 39th overall selection in the fourth round.
"When you go into draft day, you have a wish list. When I looked back at our list I thought we did very well because every player we picked we had on our radar screen and hoped they would be available," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "I thought it was a very strong draft for us. 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."
Ring departs Chicago after serving as the team's starter between the posts in 2004 following three years of back-up duty behind Zach Thornton. During his 2004 campaign, Ring posted a 1.43 GAA, 7-12-9 record and seven shutouts, an effort that helped the four-year veteran earn the 2004 Fire/Honda MVP Award. Ring finished his four-year career in Chicago with a 8-12-9 record, 1.51 GAA and seven shutouts in 30 appearances (29 starts).
"He's a great professional, evidenced by the fact that he was given his opportunity last year and ran with it," said Sarachan. "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. 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."
Bios for the Fire's seven 2005 MLS SuperDraft selections follow.
Chad Barrett - 3rd Overall
Born: April 30, 1985 (19)
Height: 5-11 Weight: 180
Hometown: Beaverton, OR
U.S. NATIONAL TEAM: U.S. U-20s: Currently one of 18 players on the U.S. Under-20 National Team taking part in the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying for the FIFA World Youth Championships... Led U-20s in scoring in 2004 with seven goals, playing in 12 games (seven starts)... Scored three of the team's four goals at the Northern Ireland Milk Cup alongside Fire teammate Craig Capano... Scored game-winner vs. Canada in 1-0 win on Dec. 18... U.S. U-18s: Earned four caps. COLLEGE: 2004: Second-team All-Pac-10... Led the team with 10 assists... Ranked second in goals scored (6), game-winning goals (3), and points (22)... 2003: Pac-10 Co-Freshman/Newcomer of the Year... Second-team All-Pac 10... Second on the team in all three scoring categories - goals (10), assists (8) and points (28)... Scored the most points by a Bruin freshman since Joe-Max Moore totaled 32 in 1990. HIGH SCHOOL/CLUBS: Played at Southridge High School... Totaled 179 points on 69 goals and 41 assists in his high school career... Metro and State Player of the Year as a senior (32g /21a)... Parade and McDonald 's All-American... Two-time NSCAA/adidas All-American... Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year.... Played club soccer for Westside Metro Rangers... Won four state championships and 2003 league title with Rangers. NOTES: Admires German forward Jurgen Klinsmann... Hobbies include golf, ping-pong, bowling, camping and boating.
Jack Stewart - 10th Overall
Born: May 29, 1983 (21)
Height: 6-2 Weight: 180
College: Notre Dame
Hometown: Torrance, CA
U.S. NATIONAL TEAM: U.S. U-18s: Joined U-18 National team camp... U.S. U-20s: Joined U-20 National team camp. COLLEGE: Fundamentally sound defender and a dominant physical presence on the field... 2004: An anchor for Notre Dame's back line and catalyst for several Irish scoring opportunities... MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist... Big East Defensive Player of the Year... Scored on two of his eight shots... All-Big East First Team... 2003: Helped the Irish defense hold its opponents to one goal or less in 20 of 23 contests... All-Big East First Team... 2002: Started all 21 games for the Irish... All-Big East Second Team... 2001: One of two freshmen to see action in all 19 games (started 12). HIGH SCHOOL/CLUBS: Played four years at South Torrance High School... Finished as the school 's fifth all-time leading scorer with 124 points (42g/40a)... Three-time All-State honoree... Four-time Bay League all-conference selection... Named California Player of the Year by the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association of America (2000)... NCSAA High School All-American... Three time all-California Interscholastic Federation selection... Participated in the adidas Elite Soccer Program... Led Breakway Soccer Club to the Region IV semifinals in 2000,as well as five state crowns... Member of ODP state team since 1997, which won the National title in 2001. NOTES: Marketing major at the Mendoza College of Business with minor in sociology... Played with Justin Detter (KC Wizards) in college and counts Sigi Schmid as a family friend... Lists the Chicago Fire as his favorite MLS team... Would like to work as a photographer or in marketing-related activities such as sales or advertising if not a professional soccer player... First experience at a professional soccer game was the inaugural game of the Los Angeles Galaxy... Helped children with disabilities and volunteered at Salvation Army... The experience that forever changed his life was attending the University of Notre Dame.
Will John - 18th Overall
Born: June 13, 1985 (19)
Height: 5-9 Weight: 145
College: Saint Louis
Hometown: Overland Park, KS
U.S.NATIONAL TEAM: U.S. U-20s: Played with the U.S. Under-20 National Team in a tour of Korea in June of 2004 and scored against Poland... Scored twice for the U-20s against Jamaica. COLLEGE: 2004: Was named first-team All-Conference and NSCAA All-Midwest Region Second Team after sophomore season at St. Louis... MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist... Billikens' leading scorer with 24 points on 10 goals and four assists... 2003: Soccer America Freshman All-American and C-USA All-Freshman team... Tied for the C-USA lead with five game winners... Billikens' second-leading scorer with 23 points (9g, 5a). HIGH SCHOOL/CLUBS: Played at Rockhurst (MO) High School... Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year in 2002... All-State and Kansas City All-Metro Player of the Year after compiling 92 points (36g, 20a) in his senior campaign... Competed in 2003 McDonald 's All-America game... Three-year honor roll student. NOTES: Chose Saint Louis for its soccer and academics... Career goal is to be a biologist... Father Emilio starred for the St. Louis Steamers Major Indoor Soccer League team... Favorite athletes are Pele and Mia Hamm... Favorite team is Real Madrid... Son of Annette and Emilio John.
Chris Rolfe - 29th Overall
Born: January 17, 1983 (21)
Height: 5-8 Weight: 145
Hometown: Kettering, OH
COLLEGE: Missed significant time due to injury yet posted big numbers throughout his career... Concluded his career sixth all-time at UD in goals with 31, third in total points with 87 and the Flyers career leader in assists with 25... 2004: NSCAA All-America Second Team... All-Atlantic-10 First Team... Racked up 24 points, the third-highest total in the Atlantic 10, despite playing in only 13 games... He scored seven goals and set a Dayton single-season assists record with 10, which lead the Atlantic-10... 2003: A nagging groin injury limited him to just 10 games and nine starts, including a few cameo appearances, but he still tied for second on the team in goals (4), assists (5) and points (13)... Registered a point in seven of his nine starts... Tallied a point in his first five games for the Flyers ...Dayton was 7-1-2 with Rolfe in the lineup and 5-4-0 without him... 2002: All-Atlantic-10 First Team... Finished fifth in the Atlantic-10 in goals (15) and points (33)... The Flyers' leading scorer boasted five multi-goal games... 2001: Atlantic-10 All-Rookie Team... Started in 19 of 20 games for the Flyers finishing his rookie campaign with five goals and eight assists for 18 points... Led the Flyers in assists and finished third on the team in goals... Scored his first collegiate goal versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which started a streak of three straight games with a goal. HIGH SCHOOL/CLUBS: Played at Fairmont High School ...Notched a school-record 30 goals and 72 points as a junior, leading his team to a District Championship and earning him First Team All-Area honors as well as a spot on the All-District Team... In his senior season, he was named Player of the Year and First Team in the League, Area, and District... Was also named to the All-Mideast First Team as his team won the district title... His 73 career goals (including 72 his final three years) are a school record. NOTES: Majoring in Finance at Dayton... Played alongside Fire teammate Denny Clanton with both the University of Dayton and the Chicago Fire Reserves of the PDL.
Gonzalo Segares - 35th Overall
Born: October 13, 1982 (22)
Height: 5-11 Weight: 162
College: Virginia Commonwealth
Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
Citizenship: Costa Rica
COSTA RICAN NATIONAL TEAM: UNDER-17: Costa Rican National Team (1998)... Participated in qualifying for the World Youth Championships Cup qualifying in Jamaica. COLLEGE: One of the top defenders in the Colonial Athletic Association, he won the conference's Defender of the Year Award in both his sophomore and senior seasons... Fierce competitor... Prefers to build up the attack from the back rather than play the long ball... 2004: CAA Defensive Player of the Year... First Team All-American... MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist... All-CAA First Team selection... 2003: Started 21 matches, helping VCU to earn 10 shutouts... All-CAA First Team selection... 2002: First team All-CAA selection and the CAA Defensive Player of the Year... Tied for team lead with 8 assists... 2001: Started all 21 games at left back for the Rams as a true freshman. CLUBS: Spent three years with the Williamsburg Legacy ... Helped the Legacy to a Conference championship or runner-up position every year. NOTES: Nicknamed "Sega "... Sociology major... Admires Costa Rican National Team player Gilberto Martinez and Brazilian National Team player Ronaldinho... Most memorable moment is playing in front of 17,000 people with the Costa Rican U-17 National Team... Favorite subject in school is African Caribbean dance... Visited three countries with the Costa Rican National Team... Always prays before games.
Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo - 36th Overall
Born: October 27, 1980 (24)
Height: 5-10 Weight: 160
College: Coastal Carolina
Hometown: Soweto, South Africa
Citizenship: South Africa
COLLEGE: COASTAL CAROLINA - 2004: Started 21 of team's 23 games... Led the team and was second in the nation with 16 assists (8 goals)... Big South Tournament MVP... All-Big South First Team... 2003: Made 23 appearances and 22 starts... NSCAA All-America Third Team... All-Big South First Team... Fourth on the team with 7 goals and 10 assists for 24 points... LINDSEY WILSON -2002: Scored 26 goals (20 assists) as a sophomore... NSCAA All-American... NAIA All-America First Team... 2001: NAIA National Player of the Year after scoring 21 goals (11 assists) becoming first-ever freshman to win the award ... NSCAA All-American. HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Bethlehem (KY) High School. NOTES: Nicknamed "Boyzzz "... Majored in Physical Education... Khumalo left his home in South Africa at the age of 14 to follow his dream of playing soccer as a career, escaping the violence and poor living conditions in his town in South Africa... Moved to Kentucky where he lived with a foster family with other South Africans for the rest of his teenage and formative years... Accepted the offer to play at Coastal Carolina and transfer from Lindsey Wilson without ever having visited the school, campus or the state of South Carolina... Dreams of playing soccer professionally so he can take care of his mother and family back in South Africa.
Karim Dietz - 39th Overall
Born: June 27, 1983 (21)
Height: 5-9 Weight: 150
College: Birmingham Southern
Hometown: Waldalgesheim, Germany
GERMAN NATIONAL TEAM: Notched 20 caps for the Under-16 and Under-18 German National Teams. COLLEGE: 2004: All-Big South Conference Second Team... Finished second on the team with 13 goals and 29 points on a team which ranked second in the nation in scoring (2.58 goals per game)... Ranked nationally in goals per game (26th) and points per game (30th)... Helped team to Big South Conference regular season title and a runner-up finish in the 2004 Big South Conference Tournament... 2003: Saw action in 20 contests, starting all of them... Ranked second on squad in goals (10) and points (26)... Big South All-Freshman Team selection... Led all Big South freshmen in points and tied for first among freshmen in goals. HIGH SCHOOL: Stefan George Gymnasium. NOTES: Son of Alois and Salva Dietz... Majoring in business administration at Birmingham Southern.