CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire today officially welcomed two of its four 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft selections to the club after announcing the signings of goalkeeper David Mahoney and defender Hollis Donaldson to developmental player contracts. Per club policy, terms of the contracts were not announced. Today's signings brings the number of players on the Fire's 10-man developmental player roster to six just two weeks prior to Chicago's 2005 MLS season opener at FC Dallas on Saturday, Apr. 2. The Fire also announced that the club has waived defender Denny Clanton.
"We are pleased to have both Hollis and David on board with us," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "They were two guys we identified at the InfoSport combine, and both players caught the attention of our assistant coaching staff with their performances there. They were kind of under the radar during the SuperDraft, but we feel that David at goalkeeper and Hollis as either a wide defender or midfielder both have great potential with our squad."
Mahoney will serve as the Fire's third goalkeeping option in 2005 behind starter Zach Thornton and fellow developmental player Matt Pickens. The Boston area native split his four years of collegiate soccer between a pair of Ivy League schools, beginning with two years at Brown before transferring to Cornell. Mahoney was Chicago's second round (15th overall) selection in February's Supplemental Draft.
Despite being the last pick for the Fire in the fourth round of the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft on Feb. 4, Donaldson made his mark as a versatile player on the right side of the field during the preseason, earning him a spot on the 28-man roster. The product of Liberty University was a high-scoring forward coming out of Providence Prep School in Jacksonville, FL, but he unselfishly made the switch to defender during his freshman year in college. The 21-year-old Donaldson honed his skills on the back line enough to become the first player in Liberty soccer history to be drafted by an MLS squad.
The 22-year-old Clanton played an even 500 minutes during his 10 appearances in MLS play for the Fire during his rookie season in 2004, which included six nods in the Fire's starting eleven. Clanton, a native of west suburban Aurora and product of Waubonsie Valley H.S., also registered 131 minutes in two games (one start) for the Fire on the team's march to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final last season. Alongside goalkeeper Matt Pickens, the former University of Dayton player made history as one of the first players from the Premier Development League's Chicago Fire Premier (formerly Chicago Fire Reserves) to make the senior club in 2004 after being selected by Chicago in the fourth round (38th overall) of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.
"I'd like to thank Denny for his contributions last year," said Sarachan. "This year it became a numbers game within our roster due to our acquisitions in the off-season. We signed three international defenders and it was a difficult situation for Denny. We think he's a talented player who has a bright future ahead and we wish him all the best in his career."
TRANSACTIONS: Fire SIGNS HOLLIS DONALDSON AND DAVID MAHONEY TO DEVELOPMENTAL CONTRACTS AND WAIVES DENNY CLANTON
Barrett and John to Join U.S. U-20s for Prestigious Suwon Youth Tournament in South Korea
U.S. Soccer has announced that Fire forward Chad Barrett and midfielder Will John have been selected to the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team's 20-man roster that will take part in the Suwon International Youth Football Tournament in Suwon, South Korea from Mar. 22-26. The Under-20s will face Argentina, Egypt and South Korea in the four-team tournament, which will serve as preparation for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland from June 10-July 2. The U.S. will arrive in South Korea early on Sunday, Mar. 20, and have two days of training before opening the round-robin tournament against Argentina on Tuesday, Mar. 22 at 4:30 p.m. local time (1:30 a.m. CT). The U.S. will then meet the host two days later at 7 p.m. local time (4 a.m. CT), before concluding play against Egypt on Saturday, Mar. 26 at 12:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. CT on Friday, Mar. 25). Barrett and John will rejoin the Fire in Chicago after the tournament for the club's final week of preparation leading up to its MLS regular season opener at FC Dallas on Saturday, Apr. 2.
To view the latest installment of Will John's Player Diary, chronicling the Fire's preseason journey to Guadalajara and Alabama, click here or visit the main page of the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com.