The remaking of the Chicago Fire roster continues apace, as the club announced it had declined the 2014 options of eight players from the 2013 roster, as well as announcing the pickup of 10 options. The players whose options were not picked up, for the most part, will go through the first phase of the Re-Entry Draft, to be held on Thursday.
Those renewed included keepers Sean Johnson and Alec Kann, defenders Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Hunter Jumper and Stephen Kinney, midfielders Alex, Brendan King and Victor Pineda, and forward Quincy Amarikwa. Those declined included Chris Rolfe, Logan Pause, Joel Lindpere, Daniel Paladini, Maicon Santos, Corben Bone, Michael Videira and Kellen Gulley.
Few of the players thus placed in limbo should have been surprised. The highest profile declination, that of Chris Rolfe, follows the worst injury-free season of the striker's career. Most of the rest are either players making starter money who couldn't tie down a starting slot (Pause, Lindpere, Santos) or young guys who barely saw the gameday 18 (Bone, Videira).
Paladini and Gulley were mild surprises. Paladini's passionate play saw him starting frequently in the early season - he even won the club's Goal of the Year for his pinpoint freekick against Portland - but as the season wore on, his playing time dwindled. Gulley's negligible impact while on loan in Atlanta, where the talented 18-year-old struggled to make the gameday roster for a third-division side, apparently has ended his time with the Fire.
For most of those players whose options were denied, the next step takes place on Thursday. Then, the league will hold the first round of the Re-Entry Draft; most the players whose options were declined today could be selected in that draft. Effectively, the drafting club would pick up the declined option. Only Gulley does not qualify for this process, leaving his status as a professional open to question.
The 10 renewed players join several still under contract for 2014. As of publication, the Fire roster for 2014 looks like this:
Sean Johnson, Alec Kann
Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares, Hunter Jumper, Stephen Kinney
Dilly Duka, Jeff Larentowicz, Patrick Nyarko, Alex, Brendan King, Victor Pineda
Mike Magee, Juan Luis Anangonó, Quincy Amarikwa
The Re-Entry Draft
The Fire will be taking part in the Re-Entry Draft too, of course. MLS' complete list of available players for Thursday's draft could be intriguing - who will the Yallop/Bliss front office go for?
2013 RE-ENTRY DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYERS BY CLUB (* = no option, contract at its end)
Chicago Fire (9): M Corben Bone, D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, M Daniel Paladini, M Logan Pause, M Chris Rolfe, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira
Chivas USA (3): D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto
Columbus Crew (2): M Danny O'Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha
Colorado Rapids (3): GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith
D.C. United (6): M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, M John Thorrington, D Daniel Woolard
FC Dallas (3): F Kenny Cooper, M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu
Houston Dynamo (5): D Bobby Boswell*, F Calen Carr*, D Mike Chabala, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver
LA Galaxy (4): M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois, D Sean Franklin, M Pablo Mastroeni*
Montreal Impact (1): M Sinisa Ubiparipovic
New England Revolution (5): D Kevin Alston*, F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja
New York Red Bulls (5): F Andre Akpan*, D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, GK Kevin Hartman, D Heath Pearce*
Philadelphia Union (1): D Chris Albright*
Portland Timbers (2): D David Horst, D Ryan Miller
Real Salt Lake (4): M Yordany Alvarez, D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson
Seattle Sounders (6): D Marc Burch, GK Josh Ford, M Blair Gavin, M Mauro Rosales, F Steve Zakuani*
San Jose Earthquakes (4): D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy*, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton
Toronto FC (2): F Justin Braun*, M Bobby Convey
Vancouver Whitecaps (4): GK Joe Cannon, F Tommy Heinemann, F Corey Hertzog, GK Brad Knighton