In a heartfelt social media post shared on Saturday, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina announced his commitment to playing for the U.S. Men's National Team.
A dual-national, the highly-rated 18-year-old has been eligible to represent both the United States as well as his family's native Poland on the international level.
"Being Polish means being extremely hard working, having faith, never taking no for an answer, pushing through hard times, and taking care of your family. I love everything about my heritage, from the people to the food, to the cities. I am also extremely grateful for being given the possibility to play for Poland," an excerpt of Slonina's caption reads.
"With that being said, my heart is American. This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for. It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent."
Slonina represented the U.S. Youth National Teams at the U-14, U-17 and U-20 levels before earning his first call up to head coach Gregg Berhalter's senior side last December. The Fire Homegrown product was then subsequently called in for a round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Jan. 6, 2022.
Slonina has appeared 23 times for the Fire since his first team debut last fall, recording nine shutouts in that time. The Chicagoland native originally signed with the Club as a 14-year-old on March 8, 2019, becoming the second-youngest player signing in Major League Soccer history at the time.
His debut season in 2021 was record-setting for the Chicago native, as Slonina became the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to start and record a shutout in a 0-0 draw with New York City FC on Aug. 4. Additionally, with the Club’s 0-0 draw against the LA Galaxy on April 16 of this season, Slonina became the first goalkeeper in league history to record nine shutouts before turning 21 years of age, accomplishing the feat in just 18 professional starts and appearances.
Three days later, the Fire announced that the Club had exercised Slonina's contract option for the 2023 season.
Slonina and the Fire next take on New York City FC at City Field Stadium this Sunday, May 22, at 4 p.m. CT. Coverage of the match will be available on WGN, CF97 Live, and Univision Radio, or additionally on MLS LIVE's out-of-market package on ESPN+.