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Finally! Fire sign preseason standout Yazid Atouba

Yazid Atouba might have been a slight gamble when the Chicago Fire drafted him at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis. The 20-year-old Cameroonian midfielder impressed in preseason though, leading to the club offering him a contract two days before the season opener at reigning MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy.

He's got mad skillz! The Fire finally signed Yazid Atouba on Friday afternoon.
He's got mad skillz! The Fire finally signed Yazid Atouba on Friday afternoon.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This one seemed like more of a formality than anything else.

Back in January when the Chicago Fire selected Cameroonian midfielder Yazid Atouba with the 30th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, he was seen as a bit of a long shot. He was seen as someone who was a raw talent, but not quite polished enough. The fact that signing him would take up an international slot seemed to also be a major consideration.

But Atouba did nothing but impress during preseason. He scored two goals and made a number of other dazzling plays to the point that not signing him wasn't really an option. Those who predict he can end up being similar to Patrick Nyarko may yet be proven right.

When you look at the Fire's depth currently, Atouba will likely get some opportunities this season. It may not be right away in MLS action, but he will definitely get looks in the revamped Reserve League as well as US Open Cup matches. And perhaps later in the season, he may even see some starting action.

So congratulations are in order for young Mr. Atouba. We're all rooting for him to have a long and prosperous career...and hopefully he ends up being a star while wearing the cf97 badge!

Here are the highlights from the club's press release:

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday that it has signed MLS SuperDraft pick Yazid Atouba. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Atouba will be available for selection by head coach Frank Klopas when the Men in Red take on the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. CT (UniMas).

"We're pleased to add Yazid to our roster," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "Yazid is a quick, skillful player with tremendous potential. Throughout preseason he has shown that he has the potential to succeed in MLS."

A 20-year-old, left-footed midfielder hailing from Cameroon, Atouba was selected in the second round (30th overall) in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. A Cameroonian Youth International, Atouba represented his country in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Championships where he started three of the four matches in which he appeared during the tournament, helping Cameroon reach the Round of 16. During the Fire's preseason training camp, Atouba scored goals against the Columbus Crew Jan. 30 and Chivas USA Feb. 5.

Name: Yazid Atouba

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5'6"

Weight: 150 lbs.

Date of Birth: January 2, 1993

Place of Birth: Yaounde, Cameroon

Citizenship: Cameroon

Last Club: Rainbow FC Bamenda (Cameroon)

So what's does everyone think of the signing? Will he merely be a solid squad player or does he have the talent to eventually be a star in MLS?