fter nearly three months off, the Chicago Fire will officially get back to work this week, as the "Men in Red" will report to their Lake Forest College training facility for physicals this Thursday, Feb. 2. Following an off day on Friday, the Fire will kick off its 2006 preseason calendar, which includes up to 13 exhibition contests, this Saturday, Feb. 4, when the squad will wisely head south for the warmer climates of Florida's Gulf Coast and the familiar surroundings of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, where the team will conduct a two-week camp from Feb. 4-17. A minimum of off-season player transactions and the addition of 10 potential rookies across the MLS SuperDraft and Supplemental Draft over the last 10 days have resulted in an initial count of 34 players on Chicago's roster heading into the 2006 preseason.
Chicago Fire 2006 Preseason Calendar (Dates subject to change)
Feb. 2 - Players report to Lake Forest College for physicals
Feb. 4 - 17: Training Camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL
Feb. 21 - Mar. 2: Training Camp in Guadalajara, Mexico
Mar. 6 - 16: Training Camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA
Saturday, Apr. 1: MLS First Kick 2006 - Fire at FC Dallas; Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX (Time and TV TBA)
Jaqua Joins U.S. National Team for First "Cap" in 5-0 Romp of Norway
Last week it was Fire forward Chris Rolfe that represented the U.S. Men's National Team in a scoreless draw with Canada. This time around his Fire running mate in the attack, forward Nate Jaqua, got his turn with the "Red, White & Blue," earning his first career appearance for the U.S. senior team in its 5-0 drubbing of Norway yesterday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Jaqua entered the contest in the 67th minute in the same fashion as Rolfe did seven days earlier, off the substitutes bench in place of former Fire striker Josh Wolff, and was active in his 23 minutes of action, squeezing in a trio of shots on the Norway goal. It was Jaqua's chance in the 87th minute that helped the U.S. register its largest ever defeat of a European opponent, his saved shot bouncing to midfielder Landon Donovan, whose laid off ball was buried into the upper right corner by midfielder Chris Klein to end the day's scoring.
After getting a few days of rest following yesterday's match, Jaqua, Rolfe and the rest of the 28-man U.S. camp contingent will get back to work later this week in preparation for the squad's next friendly, which will take place on Friday, Feb. 10 against Japan at SBC Park in San Francisco (10:00 p.m. CT).
Midfielder Floyd Franks Leads Fire's Crop of Five from MLS Supplemental Draft
After selecting five players in the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 20, the Chicago Fire followed suit by plucking five more potential rookies from the player pool in last Thursday's 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft. The Fire began in the first round by picking UNC-Charlotte midfielder Floyd Franks with the 10th overall pick before going for backfield depth with its next three picks in defenders Dasan Robinson (Dayton, 22nd overall), Ezra Prendergast (Syracuse, 34th overall) and Idris Ughiovhe (Howard, 42nd overall). The "Men in Red" ended the draft by taking its lone forward of the day, Western Kentucky product Richard Mupfudze, with the 46th overall selection.
Chicago Fire 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft Selections
M Floyd Franks - UNC-Charlotte - 1st Round/10th overall selection
D Dasan Robinson - University of Dayton - 2nd Round/22nd overall
D Ezra Prendergast - Syracuse University - 3rd Round/34th overall
D Idris Ughiovhe- Howard University - 4th Round/42nd overall
F Richard Mupfudze - Western Kentucky University - 4th Round/46th overall
Season Tickets for Inaugural Season at Bridgeview Stadium on Sale Now
The Fire's public on-sale for 2006 Season Tickets at Bridgeview Stadium continues, giving fans the opportunity to choose their seats for the club's inaugural season at the new, world-class facility, located on the corner of 71st Street and Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview. Fans can pick out their seats by checking out the Bridgeview seating chart in the Ticket section at www.Chicago-Fire.com. For more information on the public on-sale and the Bridgeview Stadium project, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE or visit www.Chicago-Fire.com.
Get Them While They're Hot! Club Seat Selection at Bridgeview Stadium Going Strong
Club seat selection for the Fire's inaugural season at Bridgeview Stadium for all current season ticket holders is still going strong, with approximately 75% of the three club sections already sold. Located at mid-field on the stadium's East side, the Fire's club seats offer the unique combination of the best sightlines for exciting Fire soccer and other special events and are perfect for entertaining clients, closing business deals, recognizing employees, or simply relaxing and enjoying the game. For a full list of all the benefits Bridgeview Stadium Club Seating has to offer, please contact the Fire's Premium Seating Department at 312-705-7230 or visit www.Chicago-Fire.com for more details.