Plans are underway for the construction of a new year-round soccer center built for Frank Yallop’s Chicago Fire in the heart of downtown Chicago. It’s a 140,000 square-foot soccer center will sit on 4.7 acres of land and include two regulation size soccer fields and an air-supported dome.
“We are thrilled to extend the Chicago Fire presence within the city,” said Chicago Fire owner and chairman of Andell Inc, Andrew Hauptman to reporters on Monday. “We are investing in this site to increase awareness of the organization and create more accessibility for both new and existing soccer fans. We want the Chicago Fire brand to have a positive impact on the community.
“In a downtown market that is underserved with fields this new facility will be Chicago’s premier soccer center. It is a real, physical presence for the Fire to use as a means of continuing to engage the soccer community, year round, through leagues, camps, clinics, tournaments and more.”
The Soccer Center will provide year-round access to soccer fields for both the Chicago Fire Recreational Soccer League, a leading provider of adult recreational soccer in the city that includes over 5,000 players, as well as the Chicago Fire Juniors City team, a professionally based youth soccer club that serves over 250 kids ages 6-18, and one of ten clubs in the Chicago Fire Juniors family with more than 10,000 participants across seven states.
Meanwhile, VP of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei leaves Chicago and both Logan Pause and Chris Rolge opt out of Phase Two of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process as Yallop makes plans to head to Europe for some studying and scouting.
“I’ll be going to a number of clubs,” Yallop told Chicago-Fire.com’s Jeff Crandall. “Namely Tottenham and Norwich – where there are people I know well and I’m just looking at young players that we’d have the possibility of signing or getting on loan. I’m going to [Fire Team for the World Partner] Atletico Madrid as well and just looking for players.
“I’ve got scouts I’ve spoken to already going to watch games and we’ll be getting a good feel of what the market is like. I’ll bounce around as much as I can and really get after it, seeing as much soccer as I can in two weeks.”
Speaking of Norwich City, goalkeeper Sean Johnson completed a two-week stay with the Canaries and has his eyes set on a spot in the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“I think my chances are good. It’s important to stay focused on the task at hand and that’s the 2014 MLS season and hopefully the rest will fall into place,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a big year for U.S. Soccer and for myself personally. A major goal of mine since I became a professional was always to be better than I was the year before.
“Obviously I’m hoping on the World Cup roster and the season will dictate what will happen but I’m going to do as much as I can to influence things for myself.”