Player Development Update

Fire Player Development Update


The Chicago Fire U-18 and U-16 Academy squads went undefeated this past weekend in U.S. Soccer Development Academy Great Lakes Division play. The U-18s defeated local rivals Sockers FC 1-0 and FC Milwaukee 2-0. The U-16s were also victorious in both games, defeating Sockers FC and FC Milwaukee by identical 2-1 score lines.

The U-18s kicked off Saturday, April 14 against local rivals Sockers FC at the Toyota Park Practice Field. Andrew Oliver tallied the game’s only goal in the 52nd minute and the Fire held on to preserve a 1-0 win.

In the second match of the day, the Fire U-16 squad also challenged Sockers FC and built on the early success of the U-18s. Marcus Epps scored in the 5th minute and John Moderwell added to the Fire’s lead in the 40th as the Fire entered halftime with a 2-0 lead. Sockers FC drew one back courtesy off an 80th minute goal from Michael Chang, but it wasn’t enough as the Fire went on to win 2-1. 

On Sunday, April 15, the Fire U-18 squad took on FC Milwaukee at the Toyota Park Practice Field. After a scoreless first half, the Fire continued to attack and in the 62nd minute, Joel Salmeron was able to break through to put the Fire up 1-0. Joseph Calistri added an insurance goal in the 79th minute to give the Fire a 2-0 victory.

In the afternoon fixture, the Fire U-16s came away with a 2-1 win over FC Milwaukee. FC Milwaukee drew first blood when Braden Andryk scored in the 28th minute. The Fire pulled one back when Louis Bennett equalized in the 49th minute and Jeffrey Farina scored in the 74th minute to give the Fire a 2-1 victory.

With the two wins, the Fire U-18s improved to 4-0-0 in conference play and moved into first place. They are now the only undefeated team in the Great Lakes Division of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Central Conference. The Fire U-16s improved to 3-0-1 in conference play and sit in third, only three points behind the Columbus Crew (4-0-1; 15pts.) and the Indiana Fire Academy (4-1-0; 12pts.).

The Chicago Fire Academy teams return to action on Saturday, April 21 when the U-18 and U-16 teams take on the Crew at Obetz Training Facility in Obetz, Ohio. The next day on Sunday, April 22 the U-18 and U-16 teams will square off against Internationals Soccer Club at the Pinnacle Sports Complex in Medina, Ohio.


Victor Pineda, the Fire’s first homegrown player, helped the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team defeat the University of Washington on Sunday, April 15. The Fire midfielder notched the only goal of the match in the 89th minute. Pineda was taking part in a week-long camp led by U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos.


Two Chicago Fire U-18 Academy players, Drew Conner and Joel Salmeron, participated in the Reserve game on Monday, April 16 at Toyota Park. Conner entered in the 66th minute and Salmeron was an unused substitute as the Fire defeated the Houston Dynamo Reserves 1-0.