The Chicago Fire look to continue their youth movement by signing young 17-year-old midfielder Collin Fernandez to a homegrown contract sometime this week. Fernandez is an impressive midfielder who has been consistently receiving call-ups to the U.S. U-18 national team while impressing with the Fire academy.
Source telling me that U.S. U18 MNT midfielder Collin Fernandez (@cfer97) will sign a Homegrown contract with Chicago Fire this week.— J.R. Eskilson (@JREskilson) July 23, 2014
The report comes from J.R. Eskilson of Topdrawersoccer.com and seems to fit the Fire's strategy of building for the future. Fernandez would become the 4th homegrown signing for the Fire and be a move with an eye towards the future.
He has been a part of the U.S. youth national team since the U-14 level including some time in the residency academy down in Florida. Playing with the U-16 Fire academy last year, he recorded 16 goals in 25 games from the midfield and was named Player of the Year for the U15-16 Development Academy Central division. His position in the professional ranks is unclear but he will definitely be an attacking threat out of the midfield area.
Since Fernandez is only 17, he will probably not feature in the first team for some time but the team must be confident in his abilities to move up to the next level to tie him down to a contract already. This is another move in a larger youth movement for the Fire as Fernandez will join Harry Shipp, Chris Ritter and Victor Pineda as homegrown players on the roster.
After a slow start to signing homegrown players, it is exciting to see the team churning out youngsters who can hopefully contribute for the Fire for years to come. Let's not pile the pressure on Fernandez immediately but rather be excited for the kid, the team and the future.