Chris Rolfe (center) works out with the Chicago Fire for the first time since returning to the team.
Courtesy of Chicago Fire

Rolfe back in town, will play up top for sputtering Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chris Rolfe had a lot of time to think during his two-and-a-half years in Denmark.

Rolfe signed with Aalborg BK in 2009, and he moved from Chicago, where he spent five seasons with the Fire, to the town of about 100,000 without any family or friends.

Living alone, he had ample time to reflect.

“I thought about a lot of things with the future and the past,” Rolfe said. “I thought about my priorities.”

All that thinking brought Rolfe back to the Fire, who used their right of first refusal when Rolfe worked out a deal with MLS last week.

Rolfe arrived at O’Hare Airport on Monday night to the welcome of a few diehard fans and practiced at Toyota Park for the first time on Wednesday.

Rolfe finished his first spell with the Fire between 2005-09 with 40 goals and 20 assists in 149 games across all competitions, including four goals and two assists in 10 postseason games for the club. He never missed the postseason during his time in MLS, and was an offensive catalyst for the team since his rookie reason.

“It’s a good feeling to be back here,” Rolfe said. “There were some teams in Denmark that were interested and Aalborg was trying to re-sign me. In terms of life and taking advantage of my time, this was the right decision.”

Rolfe was used up top and in the right midfield spot during his time in Aalborg. He battled through hamstring injuries during his first two seasons with the club and played sparingly, but he found a regular spot in the starting lineup this season.

Still, Chicago appears to be the right fit going forward now for Rolfe, who will be available for selection for the team’s matchup at Toronto FC on Saturday.

As for where he’ll play, there’s little debate. The Fire offense has struggled out of the gate this season, leaving head coach Frank Klopas to turn back the clock a bit and slot Rolfe right where he’s needed to give the Fire a boost.

“Up top,” Klopas said. “He’s a forward, that’s where he’s going to play.”

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