Uruguayan forward Puerari joins Fire camp

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – It didn’t take long for Gaston Puerari to decide Chicago was the place for him.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan forward – who signed with the Fire last week – said Tuesday that he was excited to join the club and that it only took him a moment to know that coming to the Windy City was the right decision.

“I just thought of it as a new experience and was thrilled about the opportunity,” Puerari said through a translator. “My first answer was yes.”

Fire technical director Frank Klopas first heard of Puerari – who scored five goals and registered one assist in 14 games with Montevideo Wanderers of the Uruguayan first division last fall – through contacts in South America. After watching tape and gathering information on the 5-foot-7 striker, Klopas reached out, setting the wheels in motion for last Thursday’s signing.

“We have contacts with agents that we build relationships with and they recommend certain players based on the needs that we have,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “We have to make sure that we do our work and watch some tapes and try to gather info about each player and [we did that with Puerari] and went from there.”

Klopas said Puerari’s technical ability stuck out, even on videotape.

“He’s a technically good player,” Klopas said. “He’s a second striker and he’s very good with the ball. He can run at players, he can make the final pass and he’s good around the goal where he can finish and assist. He’s also the kind of player that works hard off the ball.

“I expect him to be a good player and help the team.”

Puerari, who began training with the Fire on Monday, added that he wants to get into top shape as soon as possible.

“I want to give it my best and I want to be a champion,” he said.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.