The Chicago Fire will be claiming former Fire Academy and Columbus Crew defender, Rich Balchan, off the waivers list as a trialist. While the Fire will be announcing their full list of trialists later this week, they were too excited to wait on announcing this guy with everyone else. The Ann Arbor native was drafted 12th overall by the Columbus Crew in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. From the Chicago-Fire.com press release:
After a reasonably strong rookie campaign a utility defender and even central midfielder for Columbus in 2011, Balchan, 24, was limited to just a few Reserve appearances last season as he toiled through a niggling sports hernia injury first suffered in July 2011.
Balchan was one out of a number of player that the Crew purged from their roster this off-season. While he is still fairly inexperienced at the professional level, he seems like he could potentially be a good depth player for 2013 if the Fire do decide to sign him. Here is what Frank Klopas had to say about Balchan:
"Rich is a guy we know well that came into MLS his rookie season and had a very good year," Frank Klopas told Chicago-Fire.com. "He’s had some setbacks with injuries and I think he’s a guy we’re going to look at right now -- if he can get that form back that he had his first year then we’re going to be very happy."
This is a good move by the Fire. If Balchan does get his form back, he could have a lot of up side and could be a future fixture on the squad. If Balchan is unable to find his form, then the Fire lose very little in the process.