Yesterday the Chicago Fire announced they had signed 2018 SuperDraft picks Elliot Collier and Diego Campos.
Both entered training camp as unsigned SuperDraft picks and featured throughout preseason. It seems they impressed enough to have warranted first team contracts. Both players are signed on for the 2018 season, with club options in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Collier was taken with the 49th pick in the SuperDraft. The forward played college ball at Loyola University Chicago, and was a member of the Fires PDL academy. The target forward was given plenty of time throughout the preseason, and did well when given the opportunity.
He scored against the University of South Florida, slotting home after getting on the end of a through ball from Bronico. He was also able to grab an assist against Florida Gulf Coast University, showcasing an ability for whipping in crosses into the right area.
Collier could add a new dynamic to a Fire attack that was oftentimes stale last season. Standing at 6’4, he is quite the threat in the air. Some teams will look to park the bus against the Fire, allowing possession without conceding many chances. The easiest way to break those teams down is in the air, and Collier could come off the bench to offer the Fire a target to aim for. Whether it be winning headers or bringing the ball down to set up others, he could be the target man that the Chicago have been needing for a while.
Campos was drafted with the 38th pick out of Clemson University. He often played behind Collier in the attack, given the responsibility of playmaking duties. He scored once in preseason, coming against FGCU when he tapped in a low cross at the back post.
Campos was most impressive on set pieces, as he was able to provide consistently dangerous service from corners and free kicks. His lone assist came off a dead ball, hitting in a perfect cross from a free kick for Dax McCarty to head home against Montreal. Everyone in the league knows about Chicago’s futility from set pieces, as the team failed to score a single goal last off a corner or free kick last season. Part of that has to do with the service, which was excruciatingly poor at times. If Campos is given the chance, that should change.
The one problem both players have is that they would each require an international roster spot. Campos has Costa Rican citizenship, while Collier was born in New Zealand. Both of them played college soccer in the states, and could be on their way to attaining a green card, but that it not guaranteed to happen anytime soon. It seems likely either one or both will end up being loaned out to Tulsa for the 2018 season, which would allow the Fire to keep the international roster spots available for any other potential signings.
Whatever happens, these signings are both low risk for the Fire, who can let either player go at the end of the season if need be. Hopefully both come good, and become first team regulars for years to come.