Player Development Update

The Chicago Fire Player Development department is currently in its silly season, running through the Great Lakes and beyond, successfully carrying the Chicago Fire banner.

The month of June has been especially fruitful for the department, with both Academy teams headed to the US Soccer Development Academy’s National Playoffs, the PDL and Super-20 teams top of their divisions, the NPSL side qualifying for the USASA nationals and five Chicago Fire Junior’s clubs qualifying for National Regional tournaments after placing at the Illinois State Cup.

Chicago Fire Academy

The Chicago Fire U16 and U18 Academy teams head to Greensboro, NC this week for the USSF Development Academy’s national playoffs to be held from June 25-June 29. This season marks the first time both sides have qualified for the playoffs since the Fire Academy began in 2007.

The U16’s qualified as Frontier Division champions, going 12-5-9 overall (10-4-3 in division) while the U18’s finished third in the Frontier Division, but qualified as a wild card going 15-7-4 (10-4-3).

“We’re proud of both team’s performances this season,” said Fire Director of Player Development John Dorn. “Having both sides qualify for the national playoffs speaks about the type of talent that’s coming along in the Fire Player Development system and we’re expecting more from both sides this week in North Carolina.”

The national playoffs actually work as a round-robin tournament, with both the U16 and U18 age brackets consisting of 32 teams, split into eight groups of four. The top team in each group after the three-match round robin will advance to the national finals to be held July 9-18 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

Below are both teams match schedules:


U16 Fire Academy

U18 Fire Academy


vs. Concorde Fire (GA)

11 AM


vs. Texas SC DTH

8 AM


vs. Arsenal FC  (CA)

10 AM


vs. FC Westchester (PA)

3 PM


vs. FC Westchester (PA)

9 AM


vs. Baltimore Bays Chelsea

9 AM



Chicago Fire PDL & Super 20

The Chicago Fire PDL and Super 20 sides have gone a combined 7-0-0, scoring 20 goals and surrendering only one in the past seven days, taking both teams to the top of their respective divisions as they \ round the final turn towards the end of their regular seasons.

The Chicago Fire PDL team dispatched the Toronto Lynx 2-0 (June 16) and Forest City London (June 18)  on last week’s Canadian road swing.

Ethan Finley tallied a brace in Toronto while Tom Oatley recorded his first goal of the season in London. In a club first, Ian Christianson and Chris Ritter became the first two Fire Academy alumni to play for the PDL team since the Academy’s launch in 2007, with their appearances in the 1-0 win over London.

The PDL team returned to Toyota Park Monday afternoon to play the return leg with Toronto, dropping the Lynx 5-0 on the stadium Turf Field. Oatley continued what he started in London, scoring a hat trick inside 58 minutes, while JC Banks and Tony Walls added single tallies.

The win kept the PDL side atop the Great Lakes Division with a 7-2-1 (22 pts.) record and gave six points of separation between the three sides vying for second in the tight division.

The Fire PDL travel to Ohio this Saturday for their first-ever meeting with the professional Dayton Dutch Lions, with kickoff set for 7:30pm ET.

The Super-20 side kept up their end of deal, going 4-0 over the past week.

Shane Lyons lone marker was enough to kickoff the week with a 1-0 win away to the Toronto Lynx on June 16.

Three days later and fresh off his PDL debut, Christianson tallied a brace and Krystian Witkowski another in an emphatic 3-0 win over Cincinnati United Premier at Toyota Park. Returning to the field just two days later, the 20’s matched the PDL side’s sweep of Toronto with a 3-0 win over the Lynx. Eric Frazier hit the back of the net twice while Christianson added a single marker

Tuesday afternoon it was Christianson scoring again, hitting the back of the net in his third straight game with two goals in a huge 5-1 win over TKO Kalamazoo. Brandan King also tallied a brace while Milan Tica added a single goal.

The Super 20’s are a perfect 7-0-0 and sit atop the Midwest Division. With four matches left to play, the 20’s are back in action for their return leg with Cincinnati United Premier on July 2.

State Cup winners and Regional qualifiers

Congratulations to the Fire’s U23 NPSL side which qualified for the USASA U23 National Cup, going 3-1 in last weekend’s Region II championship.  The National Championship will be held July 23-25 in Overland Park, KS.

Congratulations to the Chicago Fire Juniors U16, U18 and U19 boys teams and U15 girls teams on winning their respective State Cup championships.  With their win, the U15 girls become the first girls CFJ side to win the Illinois State Cup, while the U19 girls finished as runners-up, qualifying for regionals.