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Fire Trades Wolff to Kansas City

January 7, 2003 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

CHICAGO (Tuesday, January 7, 2003) - The Chicago Fire today announced its third trade in less than two weeks, sending forward Josh Wolff to Kansas City in exchange for the Wizards' first round pick (third overall) at this year's MLS SuperDraft. The trade is a consequence of the Fire's need to remain within Major League Soccer's salary guidelines.

"Josh will be missed by the Fire," said Fire GM Peter Wilt. "He is a great example of a young player who developed his skills with the Fire through the Project-40 program and became one of the stars in MLS and the U.S. National team. He earned his new contract, which is great for Josh, but it also caused the Fire to make some difficult decisions. We know we will have our choice of some very good young players at #3. It was important to move up in the draft, because our first pick wasn't until 18."

Wolff scored five goals and five assists for 15 points in 14 appearances during the 2002 season. He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee on Aug. 14 vs. Kansas City and was forced to miss the rest of the Fire's 2002 campaign, including the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Stone Mountain, Georgia native also appeared in two games with the U.S. National Team at this year's FIFA World Cup, tallying the game-winning assist on Brian McBride's goal on June 17 against Mexico and helping the Americans to the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament.

"I enjoyed my five years in Chicago," said Wolff. "I was able to play in the Olympics and in the World Cup and I know that would not have been possible if I wasn't in Chicago. When the injury happened, I knew I had to leave the Fire, and thanks to Curt Johnson and Peter Wilt, I was able to join Kansas City. I'm looking forward to this new era."

One of the most talented American players, Wolff made 84 appearances with Chicago, recording 32 goals and 15 assists for 79 points overall. He was a member of Chicago's "Double" Championship Team in 1998 (MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup) and 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship Team. He was the 2000 U.S. Open Cup's second-leading scorer with six goals and two assists.

Wolff was assigned to Chicago as a Nike Project-40 player on January 26, 1998. Wolff finished third in MLS Rookie of the Year voting in 1998 as well as becoming the first ever recipient of U.S. Soccer's Chevy Young Male Athlete of the Year Award.

"This will assure us three good young, new players when we start the season - Rodrigo Faria, Justin Mapp and the #3 player in the SuperDraft. This infusion of youth will make the Fire stronger in the future and allow us to develop even more talent," Wilt said.

The trade is the second in consecutive seasons that the Fire has made with Kansas City involving its first round selection. In 2002, the Fire sent midfielder Diego Gutierrez to the Wizards for the fifth selection in the SuperDraft and selected Rookie of the Year finalist Kelly Gray.


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