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Fire Signs Defender Erik Hort

April 20, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

BRIDGEVIEW, IL (April 20, 2007) - The Chicago Fire has secured the services of 20-year old defender Erik Hort to a one-year contract that will see the club's latest signing placed on the developmental roster. Hort, an attacking right back, has been training with the "Men in Red" since October of 2006 and solidified his place on the 28-man roster throughout preseason.

"When we identified Erik last fall we felt that we had a young man that had come from a professional environment in Czechoslovakia and was eager to make an impression and learn to be a good professional," said Fire head coach Dave Sarachan. "I think by signing Erik we've added just that, a young man who has experience for his age, versatility in his positioning - whether he's an outside back or outside midfielder - and a guy that we feel could develop into a great player under our system."

Hort began his club career at PDA (Player Development Academy) in Zarapath, NJ with the Conquistadors (2000-2004) and then traveled to Israel to train with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hopel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa in the Winter of 2003 before latching on with Strasbourg in France in August of 2004 at the age of 16. From there he trained with A.C. Sparta Prague's U-19 team (2004-2005), the club's highest youth team. While with Sparta's U-19 team, Hort participated in the 2005 Copa Amsterdam Cup in Holland, finishing third against youth teams such as Barcelona FC, Ajax, and Panathinaikos. He also placed third in the 2005 S LZO Cup in Munich, Germany and the 2006 Rennes Cup in Angers, France.

Hort cracked the Sparta Reserve Team lineup in the fall of 2005 and became a mainstay in the Reserves until the fall of 2006. While with the Reserves, Hort earned a call-up to the U.S. Men's U-20 National Team during its stint in Pusan, South Korea in 2006. There he saw action against Argentina, Slovakia and South Korea, helping the team post a 1-1-1 tournament record. After his performance in South Korea, Hort was invited to train with the Chicago Fire and has been with the club since.

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