Joey Calistri - Drew Conner - Chicago Fire Homegrown
Courtesy of Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire add two Homegrown players to bolster roster depth

It's been an offseason of change for the Chicago Fire, with a new coach and the jettisoning of club stalwarts like Jeff Larentowicz and Mike Magee, and now new head coach Veljko Paunovic has added his first new players.

On Thursday the Fire signed forward Joey Calistri and midfielder Drew Conner as Homegrown players. They are the seventh and eighth players to be signed to the first team from the Fire Academy.

Calistri, 22, was a four-year starter for Northwestern, racking up conference and regional awards while finishing as the No. 2 leading goalscorer in program history. The Deerfield, Ill. native had 30 goals and 10 assists during his Wildcats career.

"Coming up through the Fire youth system, the dream has always been to play for the first team," Calistri said in a statement provided by the team. "It's an incredible honor to play for my hometown club. With the new technical staff in place, this is a fresh start not only for me but for the club, and I can't wait to get going with this new team and see what the future holds."

Conner, 21, was a four-year starter for Wisconsin and captained the Badgers as a senior. The Cary, Ill. native had six goals and 12 assists in his collegiate career.

"It's exciting to play for the club that invested so much in my development as a player over the years," Conner said. "I remember going to Fire games ever since I was a kid, and it's awesome that this moment is here and I'm getting this opportunity. Hopefully I can be an inspiration to younger players in the Fire youth system."

"We're very excited to have Drew and Joey with us," said Paunovic. "I like their personality on the field and their overall character. They have a great desire to learn, improve and give their best. They share the same values and passion as our community and we can't wait to start working together. We welcome them to the Chicago Fire family."

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