Bobby Shuttleworth is ready to play.
Following Tuesday’s announcement of Kenneth Kronholm’s successful surgery to repair a torn ACL, the 33-year-old Shuttleworth will take over as head coach Raphael Wicky’s number one goalkeeper ahead of the Fire’s return to regular season play.
“When I came here, I tried to prepare myself as if I’m playing every game,” Shuttleworth. “I obviously feel very bad for Kenny, but I’m looking forward to playing and I’m looking forward to helping the team.”
Having joined the Club during the 2020 preseason Shuttleworth will step into the starting XI with plenty of MLS experience to bring to the Fire defensive unit. To date, he’s made 185 league appearances (181 starts) over 10 seasons during stints with the New England Revolution and Minnesota United FC.
In addition, he and Fire captain Francisco Calvo already share a level of on-field familiarity with one another, having appeared together 45 times in 2017 and 2018 while the two were playing in Minnesota.
“We’ve just got to keep continuing to work hard, working on our technique, building as a team, working on our defensive shape,” he said. “There’s lots of things we can work on and try to get better before our first game.”
Wicky broke the news of Kronholm's injury and Shuttleworth's subsequent starting status during a media session on Saturday, and feels confident in his entire group of goalkeepers.
"Bobby is our No. 1, Connor (Sparrow) is No. 2, and Gaga (Gabriel Slonina) is No. 3, and I'm very happy with all three goalkeepers," he said. "I trust them fully, and then we go from there."
As the Fire look ahead to their Aug. 20 date with Columbus Crew (6:30 p.m. CT | WGN-TV, ESPN+) - the first of six matches they’ll play as part of their phase one return to play schedule - Shuttleworth reiterated the work still to be done.
“We were disappointed in our results in the (MLS is Back) Tournament,” he said. “It was important for us to get back into training and start grinding and working together and sorting things out. That’s what we’ve started to do, is putting in the work and looking forward to the next game.”
Light up the Lakefront ✨— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) August 9, 2020