Fire announce Marco Pappa transferred to SC Heerenveen now; not later

Saying goodbye too soon? Fire midfielder Marco Pappa will join Dutch Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen immediately instead of finishing the 2012 MLS season in Chicago.

The Chicago Fire announced on Thursday that midfielder Marco Pappa will be transferred to Dutch side SC Heerenveen immediately as opposed to at the end of the season.

The idea that a European club would essentially wait half a season to get a player seemed a bit farfetched at the time. We may never know if this was the plan all along or if Heerenveen made a last-minute offer that the Men in Red couldn't turn down.

Whether this move affects Pappa's ability to eventually move back to the club (a la Chris Rolfe) remains unknown at this time. It appears the Fire will receive a transfer fee, thereby losing his MLS rights, meaning that the Guatemalan international would go through the MLS allocation process if he were to ever return.

See the club's full press release below:

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today that it has agreed to terms to transfer Marco Pappa to SC Heerenveen. Pappa will join the Dutch Eredivisie side immediately. The club announced Aug. 13 that Pappa would join the Dutch club at the conclusion of the Chicago Fire's 2012 MLS season. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the transfer were not disclosed.

"This was a very difficult decision to make, however, we feel it is the best move for the club and the player at this time," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "This transfer provides the club with flexibility under the salary cap and made sense as we look toward the future. Marco came into his own as a member of the Fire, he has been a big part of the club and we wish him the best in this next phase of his career."

The 24-year-old midfielder joined the Fire on loan from CSD Municipal on July 30, 2008 and was signed on Dec. 3, 2009. The Guatemala City, Guatemala product started 101 of the 112 MLS Regular Season games in which he appeared for the Men in Red, scoring 26 goals and adding 16 assists. Pappa is currently tied for fourth in the club's all-time goal scoring chart.

Pappa'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 earned 29 international caps for Guatemala.

So what do you think about this move? Will it be a big blow to the club's playoff hopes or will other players step up to fill the void? Or is the club looking at bringing another player? (*cough* Carlos Bocanegra *cough*)

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