The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today that Paraskevas “Pari” Pantazopoulos is the winner of the 2011 Chicago Fire Open Tryout . The Greek born, Mt. Prospect, IL midfielder emerged from the 210 person tryout and will join the Fire for a week of training with the club opens its preseason camp at the Bridgeview Soccer and Sports Dome on Monday, Jan. 31.
“Playing professional soccer has always been a dream of mine,” said Panthazopoulos. “I have been a supporter of the Fire since I moved to the United States in 1998. I am very thankful to the club for this opportunity.”
Born in Athens, Greece, the 22-year-old midfielder was one of 210 players, representing 19 different countries, who attended the 2011 open tryout. Pantazopolous began his soccer career with Vrilissia Academy in Greece at eight-years-old. Following his family’s move to Mt. Prospect, the attacking midfielder played with Green and White (1998-2002) and locally with the Illinois Youth Soccer Association (2002-2007) before joining Asyl Lisis in Cyprus in 2007. After a year’s stay in Cyprus, Pantazopolous returned to the country of his birth to play with Zakynthos from 2008-2010.
“Our Player Development staff evaluated a lot of talented players over the course of two days,” said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas. “Pari stuck out amongst the crowd. Our open tryout gives players, like Pari, a chance fulfill their dream of playing soccer at the professional level. We are excited to have Pari train with the first team to see if he has what it takes.”
Of the 210 players participating on Day One of the tryout, 35 were invited back for a second look by the Chicago Fire Player Development Staff and one was selected to train with the first team. Check out photos from the open tryout here.
.The Fire will host Opening Day at TOYOTA PARK against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 26 at 3:00 PM CT. Chicago Fire Season Tickets and 2011 Winter Packs, which give fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action on Opening Day and the Fire’s second home match in 2011, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.