Chicago Fire

Fire sign Brazilian midfielder Thiago da Rosa Correa

CHICAGO - 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.

"It's truly a privilege to sign with the Chicago Fire. I was fortunate to spend last summer training with the squad and I had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with my new teammates. They are all great players and they are fantastic off the field as well," Thiago said. "I consider myself a fast, technical player and I hope I have the opportunity to contribute all of my skills to help the team win a championship. I'm not sure that there are a lot of Brazilians living in Chicago, but it's a great town. I'm just honored to be a part of this team and I'm very much looking forward to starting our season."

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. Following the 2004 season, each MLS club was allotted three Youth International slots, which can be traded with the two expansion teams - CD Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake - in 2005. The Fire currently holds all three of its original Youth International slots.

"Thiago impressed us last year when he came over on trial and we felt, at that time, he would be a good addition to our team coming into 2005 as a young, attacking midfield player," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "He possesses great technical ability, reads the game well and moves well. We feel he offers something a little bit different as a player going forward and believe he'll be a great addition to our 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. Known as a player who is unafraid to take on an opposing defender, his speed and ability to transition from defense to offense are expected to make him an effective field manager in the middle of the park as the Fire attempts to fill the role left vacant by the off-season departure of Andy Williams. 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.

"Thiago offers midfield depth," said Fire President and GM Peter Wilt. "He's primarily an attacking player with creative skills, but we were really impressed last fall in his trial by his hard work defensively also. He is young and will have the chance to develop and contribute to the Fire."

Thiago helped lead his youth teams, both at his hometown club of Sporting Club Internacional in Porto Alegre and various state and regional select teams, to several regional, country and continental titles before making his professional debut with S.C. Internacional in 2003. Thiago spent the first part of 2004 with Sao Paulo side Ginásio Pinhalense de Esportes Atléticos, the same team from which the MetroStars signed midfielder Gilberto Flores on loan.

Thiago da Rosa Correa

Position: Midfielder
Height: 5'7" (1.70 m)
Weight: 147 lbs. (67 kg)
Born: April 7, 1982 in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Citizenship: Brazil
Last Club: Ginásio Pinhalense de Esportes Atléticos (Brazil)
How Acquired: Signed on loan as a Discovery Player on 1-24-2005
Pronunciation: thee-AH-go


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