This is huge news for me. And it speaks of what is being built in Chicago right now at Toyota park. By that, I mean that Arne originally came here looking to prove he was fit with an eye on returning to Europe soon. However, the city, the people, and the club grew on him enough to start changing his tune mid-season. In fact, Arne recently went so far as to say that basically it was either retirement or stay in Chicago. This is a huge statement of faith in the Fire considering he showed that he was healthy and fit enough again to play in top European leagues if he had chosen to.
It's nice to get this tied up this early in the offseason in my opinion. Now Frank and the FO can focus on strengthening other parts of the team and adding additional depth along the back line at LB and/or RB. I know my Wednesday has started off on a high note with this announcement. Full press release is below:
Chicago Fire Re-sign Defender Arne Friedrich
German World Cup veteran defender returns to Fire for 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. (Nov. 7, 2012) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Wednesday that the club has re-signed German defender Arne Friedrich. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Building continuity at the center back positions is a priority in 2013," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "Arne's international experience and leadership are key to our defense. We are happy to have him back next season."
Signed as a free agent on March 7, 2012, Friedrich made 23 appearances for the Men in Red, tallying one goal across 1832 minutes. The two-time German World Cup veteran patrolled the Fire backline that held opponents to 41 goals in the 2012 regular season, tied for second best in the Eastern Conference. Friedrich was selected the club's Defender of the Year for his efforts during the 2012 campaign.
Hailing from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, Friedrich has represented the German national team 82 times since his first appearance in 2002. During that time, Friedrich helped Die Mannschaft to matching third place finishes at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. He also represented Germany at the 2004 and 2008 UEFA European Championships, helping his country to a runner-up finish in 2008. Capable of playing centrally or on the right side of the backline, Friedrich helped his national side to a third-place finish at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany.
Player: Arne Friedrich
Pronunciation: ARR-nuh FREE-drick
Height: 6'1" (1.85 m)
Weight: 170 lbs. (77 kg)
Date of Birth: May 29, 1979
Hometown: Bad Oeynhausen, Germany
Last Club: VfL Wolfsburg (GER)
How Acquired: Re-signed on Nov. 7, 2012
ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
Founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1997, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club enters its 15th Major League Soccer season. The Fire won the MLS Cup in its inaugural campaign in 1998 and was crowned champion of U.S. Soccer's national tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. In June 2006, the Fire moved into its world-class home of TOYOTA PARK, located in Bridgeview, IL. For more information on the Chicago Fire, please visit the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.