The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday that the club has signed Guillermo Franco on a free transfer. The two-time World Cup veteran and Mexican international will join the side immediately. He's unlikely to play this weekend but Franco fans should mark their calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 10:00 a.m. CT. as the Fire take on FC Dallas in MLS Reserve League action at Toyota Park.
"We're happy to add a talented player like Guillermo to our team," said Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas. "He has a wealth of international playing experience and will be a great asset as we look to strengthen our squad for a potential MLS Cup Playoff run."
More thoughts and official language after the break.
Franco joins the Fire from Liga MX side Pachuca where he made 12 appearances in 2012. The Corrientes, Argentina product began his career with Argentine Primera División side San Lorenzo in 1995. Yes, you could say he has been around for awhile. The 35 year-old is far off from his days as a semi-regular on Mexico's National Team. The cons to this deal are that Franco failed to score in his 12 appearances for Pachuca last season.
The positives are that the veteran striker isn't being brought in to be a starter. Chicago still has 2 open international slots. The Fire won't be paying Franco all that much money. There's still room on the roster after this signing. Frank Klopas is only playing three forwards right now: Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald, and Dominic Oduro. Franco adds some depth and comes with veteran experience. This signing will make some headlines in Mexico and around the world. This is a nice low-risk, medium reward scenario.
Franco became a naturalized Mexican citizen in 2004 and made his national team debut in 2005. Franco scored eight times in 25 appearances for El Tri, and represented Mexico in both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. Franco becomes the fourth player on the Fire roster with FIFA World Cup experience. Since Franco was sitting around and willing to play for not much money, why not?
Name: Guillermo Franco
Weight: 168 lbs.
Date of Birth: November 3, 1976
Place of Birth: Corrientes, Argentina
Hometown: Corrientes, Argentina
How Acquired: Signed on a free transfer on Sept. 14