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Chicago Fire Soccer Club Weekly Update

December 11, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire

FIRE SELECT FORWARD MAICON SANTOS IN STAGE ONE OF MLS RE-ENTRY DRAFT

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club selected forward Maicon Santos in the first stage of the 2012 MLS Re-Entry process Dec. 7. In four MLS seasons the Brazilian forward has tallied 21 goals and added eight assists.

In 2012, Santos made 26 appearances for D.C. United, scored seven goals and added three assists over 1,470 minutes, helping United reach the Eastern Conference Final. Santos started and played the full 90 minutes of D.C. 's 3-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Final Nov. 11.

A product of Paracambi, Brazil, Santos made his professional debut with Rio de Janeiro-based Madureira Esporte Clube in 2004. His career included stops in Tunisia, Libya and Israel before he joining MLS when he signed with Chivas USA in 2009. In two seasons with the Goats, Santos made 19 appearances, scored two goals and added one assist.

In 2010, Santos joined Toronto FC where he played 32 matches over the course of two seasons, scoring ten goals and adding three assists from 2010-11.

Santos joined FC Dallas for the second half of the 2011 season, scoring two goals and adding one assist across 11 games.

CHICAGO FIRE GOALKEEPER SEAN JOHNSON TRAINING IN ENGLAND

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson is currently in England training with English Premier League side Everton F.C. from Dec. 10 - 23.

Johnson spent the previous week training with fellow EPL side Stoke City from Dec. 5 - 9.

This is the second consecutive year that Johnson will train with the Toffees. In Dec. 2011, Johnson spent a week training with U.S. Men's National Team starting "˜keeper Tim Howard as well as Everton and U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper coach Chris Woods.

In his third season with the Fire, Johnson appeared in a career-high 31 regular season games for the Men in Red in 2012, accumulating a 16-10-5 record, including five shutouts. Johnson's 1.24 goals against average was the lowest in his three years as a professional. The Lilburn, Ga. native made 108 saves in 2012, including a career-high ten saves against the San Jose Earthquakes July 28.

Johnson, 23, made his international debut for the United States Jan. 22, 2011 against Chile at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Johnson has been capped twice for the United States and was recently named to the travel squad for the international friendly in Russia Nov. 14.

FIRE DEFENDERS JALIL ANIBABA AND AUSTIN BERRY CONCLUDE ATLETICO MADRID TRAINING STINT

Chicago Fire defenders Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry concluded their training period with Spanish La Liga side and 2012 Europa League Champions Atlético Madrid Dec. 9. Anibaba began training with El Atléti Nov. 18 and was joined by Berry, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, Nov. 25.

This was made possible by the Team For the World strategic alliance that was formed in 2011 by the Fire, Atlético Madrid, Club América and Sport Club Internacional and five other clubs on a total of five continents in an effort to bring clubs together in the spirit of creating synergy as it relates to the growth of soccer, on-the-field-and-off.

Berry and Anibaba, both 24, were instrumental to the Fire defense that held opponents to just 41 goals this season, tied for second best in the Eastern Conference. In 2012, the Men in Red went 17-11-6 and earned 57 points, tied with the 2000 season for the highest point total in club history, and qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 12th time in the club's 15-year history.

CHICAGO FIRE RE-SIGN DEFENDER GONZALO SEGARES

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Dec. 6 that the club has re-signed Costa Rican international defender Gonzalo Segares to a multi-year deal. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Segares was the Fire's third round selection (35th overall) in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft after a four-year collegiate career at Virginia Commonwealth University. Segares has played 178 MLS Regular Season games over eight seasons for the Men in Red, scoring 11 goals and adding 13 assists. The 2007 Chicago Fire Defender of the Year, Segares has made 13 postseason appearances for the Fire, scoring the insurance goal in the second leg of the 3-0 win over the New England Revolution Nov. 6, 2008.

Having amassed 206 competitive appearances for the Men in Red, the veteran defender became just the seventh player in club history to surpass the 200 mark with his appearance in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact on September 15.

Segares joined Cypriot club Apollon Limassol on a free transfer in January 2010, where he made 12 appearances, helping Limassol to a third place finish in the 2009-10 Cypriot First Division table before returning to the Fire in August that year.

In 2012, Segares started all 31 games in which he appeared. With three goals and one assist to his credit, Segares was tied with 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry for goals scored by a Fire defender. Segares was a mainstay in the Fire backline that held opponents to just 41 goals, tied for second best in the Eastern Conference.

The San Jose, Costa Rica native made his international debut in an international friendly against Honduras Sept. 9, 2007 and has since earned 19 caps for los Ticos.

CHICAGO FIRE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PRODUCTS WIN 2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Six Chicago Fire Player Development alumni won the national championship Sunday afternoon when Indiana defeated Georgetown 1-0 in Hoover, Ala.

Sophomore defender and Naperville, Ill. native Patrick Doody tallied an assist on Nikita Kotlov's 64th minute game-winner as the Hoosiers won their first national championship since 2004.

Doody and fellow Fire products junior midfielder Jacob Bushue (Academy), freshman forward Andrew Oliver (Academy), junior midfielder Harrison Petts (PDL, Super-20), freshman forward Richard Ballard (Kentucky Fire Juniors) and sophomore goalkeeper Michael Soderlund (PDL, Super-20) helped Indiana become the first No. 16 seed in history to win the championship. This was Indiana's eighth national title, leaving the school second all-time amongst Division I programs behind only Saint Louis University at 10.

Senior Defender Ian Christianson (Academy, Super-20, PDL) and sophomore midfielder Tom Skelly (PDL) helped Georgetown reach their first ever College Cup appearance in school history. Christianson was named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.

TIKETS FOR 2013 CAROLINA CHALLENGE CUP NOW ON SALE

Tickets for the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup, hosted by the United Soccer Leagues' Charleston Battery and set to be played from February 16 through February 23 are now on sale.

Hosted at Blackbaud Stadium, the Fire will open up the tournament with an MLS Cup playoff rematch when they face the Houston Dynamo on February 16 at 4:00 p.m. CT. They'll continue with a match against hosts Charleston Battery on February 20 at 6:15 p.m. CT before rounding out the tournament against fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. February 23 at 4:00 p.m. CT.

In the 2012 edition, the Men in Red went 1-1-0 in the round robin competition, falling 1-0 to D.C. United before defeating the Columbus Crew 1-0. The third match against the Charleston Battery was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms.

The Fire previously played two close Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup encounters with the third division side, downing the Battery 1-0 in extra time on August 25, 2004 at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill. before drawing 0-0 and eventually falling on penalties on June 30, 2010. The Battery were crowned 2012 USL Pro champions with a 1-0 win against the Wilmington Hammerheads Sept. 8.

Tickets are available at (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or www.charlestonbattery.com .

2013 Carolina Challenge Cup tournament schedule

Saturday, Feb. 16

Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 4:00 p.m. CT

Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 6:15 p.m. CT

Wednesday, Feb. 20

Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4:00 p.m. CT

Charleston Battery vs. Chicago Fire, 6:15 p.m. CT

Saturday, Feb. 23

Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4:00 p.m. CT

Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo, 6:15 p.m. CT

REGISTRATION FOR FIFTH ANNUAL OPEN TRYOUTS CLOSES MONDAY, DEC. 10 AT 5 P.M. CT

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club will hold its Fifth Annual Open Tryouts on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Bridgeview Soccer & Sports Dome at 8900 S. 77th Ave. in Bridgeview, IL 60455. A map to the Bridgeview Soccer & Sports Dome can be found here . The tryout is open to male soccer players ages 18 and older who believe they can succeed at the Major League Soccer level. Members of the Fire Technical Staff will be on hand at the tryouts to observe and rank players and the winner of the Open Tryout will be awarded the chance to train with the Fire first team during the club's preseason camp.

At the Fire's Third Annual Open Tryout in January 2011, Chicago Fire defender Pari Pantazopoulos emerged from a group of over 200 participants from 19 different countries to win the club's Open Tryout and a spot on the first team's preseason roster. The Mt. Prospect, IL product advanced through all three phases of the club's preseason camp to sign on as a member of the Chicago Fire. Pantazopoulos made his first team debut on June 28, 2011 in a U.S. Open Cup match vs. the Rochester Rhinos and went on to appear in the club's midseason friendly against English giants Manchester United at Soldier Field on July 23.

Tryout registration is $150 (non-refundable plus processing fees) with each player guaranteed an hour of playing time. Space at the tryout is limited. All interested players must register online by visiting Chicago-Fire.com: http://www.chicago-fire.com/opentryout. Applications must be submitted online and applicants must have a valid e-mail address as registration forms will not be accepted via fax or over the phone. All registrants will be contacted with a schedule via e-mail on or before Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The registration deadline is Monday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. CT.

Questions can be answered by e-mailing opentryout@Chicago-Fire.com. For more information visit the club's official website www.chicago-fire.com.

TRYOUT FORMAT*:

The first round of tryouts will take place on Friday, Dec. 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT. Each player is required to attend the first round of tryouts and is guaranteed one hour of playing time. Each registrant will receive their time slot via email on or before Tuesday, Dec. 11. All players will be notified on site if they are to return for Day Two of the tryouts on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 9:00 a.m. CT

Day 1 December 14 (All Participants)

Day 2 December 15 (Call backs from previous day)

Day (1)

Players will be placed into teams of (7) v (7) + goalkeepers and each team will be allocated a one hour time slot. Players will be notified on site if they have been selected for the next stage.

DAY (2)

Players will be placed into teams of (11) v (11) and each team will be allocated a one hour time slot. Systematically players will be selected to move onto the next stage or notified if they have been cut.

*Information is subject to change.

CHICAGO FIRE HOLIDAY PACKS NOW ON SALE

The Chicago Fire holiday pack gives fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action in their first match of the 2013 season at a discounted price. This limited time offer includes four (4) Corner Kick tickets ($112 value) to Opening Night at Toyota Park, 4 Fire hats, and 4 Fire gloves all for just $99. Chicago Fire Holiday Packs are available through Ticketmaster or by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE.

2012 Holiday Pack - $99 Includes:

Four (4) Corner Kick tickets to the Fire's Opening Night at TOYOTA PARK

- Four (4) Fire Hats

- Four (4) pairs of Fire gloves

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