Chicago Fire sign Indiana University star Grant Lillard to Homegrown deal

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The Chicago Fire secured the services of one of college soccer’s top players on Wednesday, announcing that defender Grant Lillard has signed a Homegrown Player deal after four impressive seasons at Indiana University. Lillard is under contract for the 2018 season, with club options for 2019 and 2020.

Lillard, 22, captained the Hoosiers to the 2017 College Cup final in his senior season, anchoring the best defense in NCAA as IU posted a 0.242 goals against average with 18 shutouts and just seven goals allowed over 25 games.

The Hinsdale, Illinois native also earned a raft of individual honors, including MAC Hermann Trophy finalist, First-Team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten. Over four years at IU, the center back started 86 games and scored 14 goals and 9 assists.

“It’s a dream come true to sign with my hometown club. After moving here in high school, this is where I set as my goal to play. It’s an unbelievable experience to have it become a reality,” said Lillard in a club release.

“Even with the academy, we always talked about what it means to represent the Chicago Fire and wear the badge. To be able to do it now at the senior level and in front of hometown fans is an unbelievable honor.”

Lillard becomes the 10th Homegrown signing in Fire history and marks the first incoming signing of the offseason for the club, who have four defenders from last year's roster either out of contract or with options declined.

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