BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 15: Marco Pappa #16 of the Chicago Fire fires a shot against the Houston Dynamo during an MLS match at Toyota Park on April 15, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
There have been stories of Marco Pappa joining Dutch side SC Heerenveen. There have been stories of Marco Pappa joining EPL club Wigan in the winter. It turns out the full story is a mix of the two. Pappa will join SC Heerenveen at the conclusion of the 2012 MLS Regular Season.
The Dutch league should suit Pappa better than the EPL so this is a very good move. I didn't see the 24 year-old Guatemalan midfielder getting significant time in England's top division after coming straight from MLS. As we've discussed on the site before, Pappa signing with a team in the winter denies the Fire any kind of transfer fee. However, it also allows the Fire to retain Pappa's MLS rights. Chris Rolfe came back to Chicago earlier this year under an identical situation.
It could be argued that the Fire not selling Marco Pappa was a Fire designated player move. Pappa currently leads the team in goals (6) and goals+assists (9). That's the kind of impact you want from a designated player yet Pappa doesn't take up one of those slots. The Fire even acquired his replacement for 2013 in Alvaro Fernandez. Fernandez was acquired in a trade from Seattle and has impressed so far. These moves haven't been all that flashy but they have been very solid. Time will tell if they bring MLS hardware. Congratulations and well wishes to Marco Pappa on the move. The full language of the team's press release is after the break.Marco Pappa on joining SC Heerenveen and the remainder of the 2012 MLS season:
"I'm very excited about taking the next step in my career and signing with SC Heerenveen. My focus is with the Fire and working hard to secure a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs," said Pappa from Philadelphia prior to joining the Guatemala national team in Washington, D.C. "The Fire gave me a great opportunity in 2008 and I am thankful to Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and Frank Klopas for the support and encouragement they have offered the past four years. I plan to do the club proud and put everything I have into the remaining matches with the Fire."
Javier Leon on Marco Pappa leaving the club at the conclusion of the 2012 MLS season:
"Marco is a great player and has been a big part of the club for the last four years," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. " Marco is a true professional and has really developed as a player while with the Fire. We understand Marco's desire to play in Europe and fully support his move to Holland. It was key for us to keep Marco through the end of the season as we push for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs. We are grateful for his contributions to the club and believe Marco will represent the Fire well in Europe."
Pappa joined the Fire on loan from CSD Municipal on July 30, 2008 and was signed on Dec. 3, 2009. The Guatemala City, Guatemala product has started 100 of the 110 MLS Regular Season games in which he appeared for the Men in Red, scoring 26 goals and adding 14 assists. Pappa is currently tied for fourth in the club's all-time goal scoring chart.
The 24-year-old's play with the Men in Red led to his international debut with Guatemala in a 1-0 loss to the United States in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on Aug. 20, 2008. Pappa has since scored five goals while earning 28 international caps for Guatemala. Pappa and Guatemala will take on Paraguay in a friendly at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 5:00 p.m. CT. Pappa will return to Toyota Park ahead of the club's match against the New England Revolution at home on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes).