Fire youth development heads north

CHICAGO, IL - The Chicago Fire and suburban Milwaukee Elm Grove Soccer Club have announced today a partnership that will expand the Major League Soccer (MLS) club's successful youth development programs into the State of Wisconsin. Effective immediately, Elm Grove S.C. will become the Official Chicago Fire Youth Development Programs partner of Waukesha County. This partnership further demonstrates the Fire's dedication to player development.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with the Elm Grove Soccer Club," said Fire general manager Peter Wilt. "In a little over a year, our youth development program has rapidly grown into other parts of the Midwest, such as West Michigan and now Wisconsin. It is a professional team's responsibility to assist with youth soccer development and our involvement with Elm Grove Soccer Club is a major step in this process."

The partnership will include implementation of various segments of the Chicago Fire Youth Development Programs, including aspects of the Chicago Fire Juniors youth club. There will also be cooperative efforts for tournament play, team training, international travel and exhibition games. The recently announced West Michigan Fire Juniors will also be a part of these cooperative efforts, as will the Fire's sister First Division club in Mexico, Monarcas Morelia.

The Chicago Fire Youth Development Programs develop players based on the values and principles of the Chicago Fire through the fostering of good citizenship, interaction with players and coaches and the setting of high standards of behavior.

The Elm Grove Soccer Club has existing youth programs that range in age from Under-11 to Under-18 (Boys and Girls), as well as a recreation program for boys and girls from Under-6 to Under-10. Led by Director of Coaching Boro Sucevic, the club is dedicated to providing a positive and competitive environment that will cultivate player development and success on the field. Sucevic guided the former second division club Milwaukee Rampage to the A-League National Championship in 2002. "We are delighted to have become a member of Chicago Fire soccer family. It is very important for young soccer players to be associated with Major League Soccer," said Sucevic. "There are tremendous advantages to partnering with the Chicago Fire. They will help provide Elm Grove youth players a clear path towards personal growth. The Fire continues to be the leader in terms of player development in this country and we will wholeheartedly embrace the Fire's professional contributions to our players."

Tryouts will be conducted from June 7 - 11. For more information, please visit Members of the Fire Youth Development staff will be on hand to assist with the tryouts.

The Chicago Fire was founded on October 8, 1997 as a Major League Soccer expansion team. In 2003 the Fire was crowned the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champion for the third time in team history, while also capturing the Eastern Conference title and its first MLS Supporters' Shield. The Fire won the MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 1998 and 2000. It was crowned Central Division Champion in 2000 and 2001.