The fourth annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer is coming to Chicago, and there looks to be some great Chicago Fire talent involved. On August 1 at 7 pm CT (TICKETS), the MLS Homegrown team will take on Liga MX Champions, Chivas de Guadalajara's U-20 team, and will be coached by two former Fire players in Brian McBride and Mike Magee.
What is the MLS Homegrown Game?
The Homegrown game is an exhibition match between selected Homegrown Players from Major League Soccer and a youth team from an established domestic or international side. With its inaugural match in 2014, the Homegrown Game has been a recent addition to the MLS All-Star week festivities.
What qualifies players to be considered a “Homegrown Player”?
A club may sign a player to a professional contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has been a member of a club’s youth academy for at least one year and has met the necessary training and retention requirements.
The 2017 Homegrown Game
Djordje Mihailovic signed with the Fire as the ninth Homegrown Player in club history on January 27, 2017. As a 16-year-old youth player, Mihailovic helped lead the 2015 Fire U-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy team to a national championship after scoring a brace in a 4-2 semi-final win against Montreal, as well as starting in the final against Real Salt Lake, in which the Fire won 3-1 to take the trophy. As a professional, Mihailovic has appeared in six matches for the full team, for a total of 70 minutes.
Brian McBride played for the Fire from 2008-2010, and racked up an impressive 21 goals in all competitions throughout his Fire career.
Mike Magee joined the Fire in 2013, and had an incredible debut season. He scored in his first four consecutive MLS matches for the Fire, and finished the 2013 season with 21 goals as well as earning the MLS Volkswagen MVP Award.
Past Chicago Fire Homegrown Game Selections:
2014—Opponent: Portland Timbers U-23’s (0-0)
Chris Ritter signed a Homegrown contract on January 13, 2014. He made his professional debut when he started against the LA Galaxy on June 1, marking the first time in Fire history that two Homegrown Players started an MLS match (alongside Harry Shipp). Ritter started and played the first 45 minutes in the inaugural Chipotle Homegrown Game.
Harry Shipp signed a Homegrown deal as the third Homegrown Player in club history. Shipp debuted on March 16, 2014 by playing the full 90 minutes in an away match against the Portland Timbers. His first professional goal, and hat trick, came in a 5-4 away victory against the New York Red Bulls. In his rookie season, Shipp led the team with six assists while also tallying 7 goals.
2015—Opponent: Club America U-20s (1-1, 4-5 PKs)
Harry Shipp continued to build off his rookie campaign, leading the team yet again in assists with eight, and well as adding another three goals to his resume.
2016—Opponent: Mexico U-20 National Team (0-1)
Joey Calistri (did not participate due to injury) signed as a Homegrown Player on December 17, 2015. He scored one goal and had one assists in his rookie season that saw him make 14 appearances, 2 of which were starts—the most among the club’s four Homegrown Players. Calistri made his debut on Opening Day, subbing on in the ninth minute against NYCFC.