Polish midfielder Przmysław Frankowski has become the latest European import to join the Chicago Fire following Tuesday's announcement that the 23-year-old would be joining the Club from Ekstraklasa side Jagiellonia Bialystok.
An emerging talent in Poland's national team setup, Frankowski look set to slot into head coach Veljko Paunović's midfield upon his arrival in Chicago for the 2019 preseason. Get to know the newest member of the Men In Red with a few fast facts on Frankowski's career to-date:
A Familiar Face
Frankowski will already be familiar with at least one of his soon-to-be teammates as he reports to the Fire’s 2019 preseason camp. His time in the Ekstraklasa saw him lineup across from Fire forward Nemanja Nikolić (then of Legia Warsaw) on four occasions in league play in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Nikolić scored twice in those four meetings – both goals coming in a 4-0 Legia win in February of 2016 -- helping his former side earn a 2-2-0 record against Jagiellonia in matches in which both players appeared.
A Tale of Two Frankowskis
A shared surname and signing with Chicago are only two among a list of connections between Frankowski and former Fire forward Tomasz Frankowski. The latter Frankowski suited up for the Men In Red 19 times across all competitions in 2008 before departing Chicago for Jagiellonia Bialystok, his hometown club. He’d go on to score 52 goals for Jagiellonia in 120 appearances, earning club legend status along the way. The younger Frankowski even donned his predecessor’s No. 21 upon joining Jagiellonia, telling Polsat Sport in 2017 of the honor he felt to share the number with the club's “legendary sniper”.
A Big Debut in Europe
Frankowksi earned seven appearances (six starts) in the UEFA Europa League in three seasons with Jagiellonia, none more memorable than his UEL debut in July 2015. Against Lithuanian side Kruoja, a 20-year-old Frankowski entered the match as a 62nd minute substitute for Piotr Grzelczak with Jagiellonia up 5-0. Wasting no time, Frankowski scored his side’s sixth goal just two minutes after coming on. He’d find the net again in the 75th and 80th minutes, completing an 18-minute hat trick and helping the Polish side earn an emphatic 8-0 victory.
No stranger to strong performances in league play, Frankowski’s Jagiellonia side have been back-to-back runners-up in the Polish first division with 23-year-old a regular selection on the wing. Frankowski departs Jagiellonia having appeared 15 times (13 starts) during their current campaign and contributed to a fourth-place position in the current Ekstraklasa standings.
UEFA U-21s Meet Again
The 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship now has two alums plying their respective trades in MLS as Frankowski prepares for his move stateside. Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak represented Slovakia in the competition, and squared off against Frankowski’s Poland in Group A on June 16, 2017. Rusnak’s side were 2-1 victors on the day as both players put in 90 minute shifts, but neither squad would advance out of group play. Real Salt Lake visits SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday, June 22 (7 p.m. CT, ESPN+ | TICKETS).