The Chicago Fire’s senior team may be struggling at the moment, but the youth set up is making moves.
Yesterday, the club announced a new strategic partnership with the Evanston Soccer Association that will give the Fire a new foothold in youth soccer in the north suburbs. As part of the arrangement, ESA’s U13 through U19 programs for boys and girls will be rebranded as Chicago Fire Juniors North Shore. They become the twelfth CFJ affiliate in a program that spans six states and serves more than 16,000 young soccer players.
Paul Cadwell, the Fire’s VP of soccer business and former Director of Youth Development, had this to say about the new partnership:
“We are excited to welcome Eleven United to the Fire family. We look forward to working together to grow the game throughout the North Shore and enhance the overall soccer experience for the community.”
The partnership opens up new opportunities for the ESA’s young players to compete at higher levels. In addition to the development framework offered within the CFJ network, the affiliation with Fire Juniors will introduce these players to higher levels of competition at regional and national events.
Rich Gallun, board president of the ESA, hailed the new partnership as a win-win for all parties.
“We are thrilled to become part of the Fire and look forward to collaborating with their soccer leaders and fellow affiliates to help take our program to the next level. This affiliation will help us thrive as a competitive, community-based organization, leveraging the resources of a much larger entity and yet one with a similar mission and values.”
ESA’s U6 to U12 programs will retain their Team Evanston branding.