The Chicago Fire has announced the rumored signing of midfielder Michael Stephens who joins the Men in Red from Bob Bradley's Stabæk in Norway. The 25-year-old versatile midfielder joins his hometown Fire after making 30 appearances last year in Norway where he scored 1 goal and lead the team with 7 assists.
After being drafted by the LA Galaxy 16th overall in 2010, he spent three seasons there where he won two MLS Cups and then was enticed abroad for year with the idea of playing for Bob Bradley. Mike Magee, who played with Stephens in LA had some great things to say about him such as "he’ll probably be the fittest guy on the team and his competitiveness is going to piss a lot of people off which is a good thing. He’s that guy in training when guys are trying to slow down, he never stops. He’s a winner. His attributes make him an amazing addition to our group." Stephens is known for his versatility so Fire fans can expect him to most likely spend most of his time on the wings but also see some time playing in the center of the midfield.
Another thing that should excite Fire faithful is that Stephens is a local kid from Naperville. He was ecstatic about being able to play for his hometown team saying "I've been a fan of the club for a long time -- since the inaugural season I've been following the team. To get this opportunity is something I didn't think I could pass up. I had a good experience playing with the Fire PDL team, I have connections to the club and to the area so it seemed like a really good opportunity for me."
When looking at this signing, Fire fans can not help but excited. Michael Stephens is a young, versatile midfielder who will most likely step into this team and start fighting for a place in first eleven from day one. This is another encouraging sign that this upcoming year will be extremely different from the last one.