CHICAGO (August 15, 2023) – Chicago Fire FC today announced the launch of Fire Discovery Centers, a free talent identification platform for U-10 through U-12 players to be identified and evaluated for future opportunities with the Chicago Fire Academy. The Fire Discovery Centers will build upon the Club’s existing scouting network, providing new pathways for players, especially from outside the pay-to-play model, to have the chance to be identified for the Chicago Fire Academy.
Running from September 11 through November 3, the first season of Discovery Centers will be held in various communities across the greater Chicagoland area and within the City of Chicago, including North Austin, Tinley Park, Bridgeview, Naperville, Northbrook, Waukegan and Elgin, and will operate twice a week at different locations. Players will be able to attend the Discovery Centers via multiple channels, including academy scout recommendation, youth club recommendation or through an open application. During each Discovery Center session, players will be led through a variety of on-field activities by Chicago Fire coaches, where they’ll be actively evaluated for future opportunities with the Chicago Fire Academy, starting with the U-13 team. Each Discovery Center session is supplemental to a participant’s other programming or club team commitments and is one of many options to be evaluated for future consideration with the Chicago Fire Academy.
“We’re extremely excited to launch the Fire Discovery Centers to expand the Chicago Fire’s ability to identify and evaluate local talent,” said Chicago Fire FC Academy Technical Director Gary Lewis. “Our goal with the Chicago Fire Academy is to always bring the best local players into our system, and through the Discovery Centers, we hope to provide new pathways for Chicagoans to have an opportunity to play for their hometown Club. We’re proud of the talent our organization has produced, and we’re excited to identify the next generation of Chicago Fire first-team players.”
Chicago Fire FC has a tremendous record of discovering and developing local talent, with 24 Homegrown signings, ranking sixth all-time amongst all MLS franchises. Currently, the Club has nine Homegrown players under contract through the 2023 season, including goalkeeper Chris Brady; defenders Mauricio Pineda and Justin Reynolds; midfielders Sergio Oregel, Javier Casas Jr., and Brian Gutiérrez; and forwards Victor Bezerra, Alex Monis, and Missael Rodríguez. Additionally, recent Fire Homegrown goalkeeper Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina is currently on loan from Chelsea FC with Belgian Pro League side K.A.S. Eupen and was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.
Registration for this Fall’s Fire Discovery Centers will open on August 15, and confirmation details for each session will begin being sent to participants beginning on September 5. There is no cost to participate in the Fire Discovery Centers. For more information and to register for the Fire Discovery Center sessions, please click HERE.
The Fire return to league action against Orlando City SC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, August 20 at Soldier Field. Join the Fire in honoring our nation's brave military personnel with “Military Night” during the match versus Orlando City SC. Alongside the action on the field, we'll show our support and appreciation throughout the evening for the incredible sacrifices and dedication of our military community. The match will be broadcast on Apple TV, streamed in English on wlsam.com and transmitted locally in Spanish on TUDN 1200 AM. Tickets for the Fire’s August 20 “Military Night” match versus Orlando City SC are available for purchase here.