"We felt he's got some international experience and can play out wide or underneath to give us some depth there," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Sometimes at that point, it's about taking a smart risk in bringing him in, and we'll see how it goes."
The 5'6" Atouba is something of a project, but having only recently turned 20 years old, it appears he has some room to grow. Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon was part of the Fire's scouting team at the combine earlier this week and highlighted someone of Atouba Emane's skills.
"We felt he was the best player at that point in the draft. He has a lot of speed and he was willing to come in as an apprentice (type player), so from that standpoint, we thought it was a good decision on our part."
Leon also said that the young Cameroonian raised his stock significantly in the past week, which led to the Fire's growing interest.
"He really did stand out (at the combine)," he said. "We didn't scout him before that."
Atouba most recently played for Rainbow FC Barmenda in Cameroon. He also played four games for his native country at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Leon went on to talk about how Yazid was a good fit with the kind of players that the club likes to recruit.
"The sort of player we seem to like is something who is dynamic and has speed, and he fit that description, so we decided to go with him."
The Chicago Fire went into the 2013 SuperDraft with only the #30 overall pick. They traded the #11 selection (along with allocation money and an international slot) to the Colorado Rapids for midfielder Jeff Larentowicz and the #30 pick.
Klopas said the club was willing to deal away the #11 pick because he didn't think there were as many playmakers available in those draft as in years past.
"We just didn't feel like we were going to get a player like Jeff (Larentowicz) with that pick. "I think as teams develop their younger players more, you're going to see, in this draft, that the different makers weren't there."
And the gaffer added that he was under no pressure to keep around the club's only selection.
‘There's competition," he said. "There's no guarantee of anything."
Here are some more highlights of the club's newest player:
The Fire have made some impressive draft picks over the past few seasons. In 2012, they selected eventual Rookie of the Year Austin Berry. They also had success in 2011 with defender Jalil Anibaba, in 2010 with goalkeeper Sean Johnson and in 2008 with midfielder Patrick Nyarko.
Miscellaneous Rumblings from Indianapolis
Despite only having one pick, the Fire certainly weren't lounging around on Thursday.
A source told Hot Time in Old Town on draft day that a deal between the Fire and the Columbus Crew involving a former United States Under-20 International was likely. That seems to fit the profile of midfielder Dilly Duka, but that can't be confirmed at this time.
Leon also admitted that midfielder Alvaro Fernandez is looking at Qatari side Al Rattan, but he claimed that no deal was eminent. El Flaco was traded to the Fire last July, but never totally settled in as he struggled with finishing and possession.
In other midfielder news, a Fire spokesperson confirmed that midfielder Corben Bone will likely be re-signed in the near future. Bone's original Generation Adidas contract from 2010 ended at the conclusion of last season, but it appears the Men in Red have some plans for the sparsely used attacking midfielder.
There are also questions surrounding the future of Pavel Pardo. The Mexican international is 36 years old, and it appears he hasn't decided whether he will return to club or opt for retirement.
With training camp starting tomorrow, there are still some questions to be addressed. Hopefully they will be answered soon, and the midfield picture, as well as the roster as a whole, will become finalized.