From First Team All-ACC to first U.S. Men's National Team Call-Up | Mauricio Pineda's Milestone Year

mauricio pineda

A first call-in to the senior U.S. Men's National Team was the latest achievement in what has been a milestone calendar year for Chicago Fire Homegrown player Mauricio Pineda.

As announced on Monday afternoon, the 23-year-old Bolingbrook native will cap his impressive first season as a professional by joining U.S. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's upcoming camp in South Florida alongside fellow Fire Homegrown Djordje Mihailović.

The call-up comes after Pineda became the first Fire Homegrown player ever to start every match in his rookie season, earning several team and league accolades along the way. A mere 384 days since he was named to the All-ACC First Team in his final season at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, take a look below at the events that helped Pineda push his way into U.S. camp over the last year.

Nov. 13, 2019 - Named First Team All-ACC

Pineda picked up First Team All-ACC honors for the second-straight season, after his senior year as a Tar Heel saw him captain the side and lead the team in shots (52), shots on goal (23) and game-winning goals (three). He also ranked second on the team in goals scored (five).

Jan. 17, 2020 - Signs as Fire Homegrown Player

After his standout career at UNC, the Club officially announced that Pineda had signed as the 15th Homegrown player in Fire history on Jan. 17, just prior to the start of the 2020 preseason.

March 1, 2020 - Makes professional debut at Seattle

The Fire were on the road for their 2020 season-opener, taking on reigning the MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field. Pineda got his first start and first 90-minute shift in what was ultimately a 2-1 Fire defeat. In doing so, he became the 12th Homegrown player to earn his professional debut for the Fire.

July 14, 2020 - Scores first goal at MLS is Back Tournament

In the Fire's opening match of group play at this Summer's MLS is Back Tournament, the Club enjoyed a bit of revenge against Seattle for their opening-day defeat. Tied 1-1 in the 84th minute, Pineda found himself open at the back post to finish off a corner kick and deliver the match-winning goal, his first finish as a professional.

July 15, 2020 - Has 2021 Contract Option picked up

The very next day, the Club announced that they'd picked up Pineda's 2021 contract option, ensuring that the Homegrown would be back in Chicago for the 2021 season.

“Mauricio quickly impressed our staff at the beginning of the season and has continued to prove himself each day during an unusual first professional season,” said Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz said at the time of the announcement. “We’re always proud to see one of our Homegrown Players succeed with the first team, and Mauricio has shown that he is capable of competing at a very high level. We are confident that he will continue to work hard and build on his strong start.”

The Fire additionally have options on Pineda for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Aug. 29, 2020 - Scores second goal of the season at New York City FC

As regular season play resumed in August following the MLS is Back Tournament, Pineda was back on the scoresheet in a similar fashion, leveling the score on a set piece just before halftime at New York City FC on Aug. 29.

Nov. 4, 2020 - Scores vs Minnesota United

Pineda helped the Fire secure a vital point on the road on Nov. 4 at Minnesota United that helped keep the Club in playoff contention. Pineda got his third goal of the season at the outset of the second half, and would go on to be named Heineken Man of the Match for his efforts.

Nov. 5, 2020 - Earns back-to-back MLS Team of the Week selections

Following his performance against Minnesota, Pineda was named to his second-straight MLS Team of the Week. He was the only Fire player to earn the league's weekly honor in consecutive weeks in 2020.

Nov. 16, 2020 - Named Fire’s 2020 Defensive Player of the Year

With the Fire's season at an end, Pineda was announced as the Club's 2020 Defensive Player of the Year on Nov. 16. He finished the year registering a team-high 2,022 minutes. In addition, with 23 starts in 2020, Pineda became the first Homegrown Player in Club history to start in every match of the season during a rookie campaign. 

Nov. 30, 2020 - Earns first senior U.S. Men’s National Team call-in

After representing the U.S. at the Under-18 and Under-20 levels in the past, Pineda will now look forward to his first senior call-in to the U.S. Men's National team. He and Mihailović will both look to make an impact when the U.S. takes on El Salvador on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at the home of Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale.

Kickoff for the match is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, with broadcast coverage live on an ESPN Network, UniMás and TUDN.