Up until July, Fire midfielder Will John was just a secret weapon in head coach Dave Sarachan's arsenal of reserve players. But when the 20-year-old rookie took the field for the first time on the senior team on July 13 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against the Western Mass Pioneers, John proved he was a force to reckon with after posting two goals and an assist that led the Fire to a 3-1 victory. After that, John made his first MLS start and played the full 90 minutes during the Fire's 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew on July 16.
Though he's new to the league, being a team leader and top scorer is nothing new to John, who enters his first season as a pro with seven years experience at the high school and collegiate levels, in addition to his time with the United States youth national teams. Here's more on this up-and-comer who will certainly be more familiar to Fire fans in the years to come.
Will John was born on June 13, 1985 to Annette and Emilio John. Emilio played professionally in the '70s and '80s on indoor and outdoor teams, including the St. Louis Steamers of the Major Indoor Soccer League and the Kansas City Comets of the North American Soccer League.
During his time at Rockhurst High School in Missouri, the younger John banked 36 goals and 20 assists (92 points) in his senior year, earning him the titles of All-State and Kansas City All-Metro Player of the Year. John also was on the honor roll for three years.
Don't hold it against him, but John considered himself a Kansas City Wizards fan while growing up in suburban Kansas City.
In 2003, he was named to both the Soccer America Freshman All-American and C-USA All-Freshman teams.
John was named first-team All-Conference and NSCAA All-Midwest Region Second Team after his sophomore season at St. Louis in 2004, during which he was the team's leading scorer with 24 points on 10 goals and four assists.
He was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2004 MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the nation's top collegiate soccer player.
John represented the U.S. under-20 national team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship this past June. He also participated in a tour of Korea in June 2004 with the U.S. U-20s and scored against Poland and twice against Jamaica during the trip.
John lists his favorite athletes as Mia Hamm and Pele and his favorite team as Real Madrid, who he got to see play for the first time on July 16 during the Real Madrid/Chivas friendly at Soldier Field.