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Chicago Fire pick up Francisco Calvo’s 2021 option

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The Fire’s captain will be back for another year

MLS: Chicago Fire at FC Cincinnati
Francisco Calvo clears the ball against FC Cincinnati
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire FC announced today the club has picked up the 2021 option on team captain and defender Francisco Calvo’s contract. The Costa Rican is now under contract through the 2021 season, with a club option for 2022.

“As a captain he’s a good leader, he’s a vocal guy. He’s good in the locker room, so I’m very happy with that,” Head Coach Raphael Wicky said of Calvo. “On the field, Francisco brings good quality. Francisco knows, as well, clearly where I want him to improve. We always speak about that. But, we all see his potential, and we all see his qualities, and we’re happy to have him here next season.”

Calvo joined the Fire in a trade with Minnesota United in May 2019. He’s made 37 appearances since then, starting 35 times. He was named team captain prior to the 2020 season.

“I’m really excited, really happy, to be back with this nice and beautiful club, and represent this club and this city,” Calvo said. “I think it’s a big opportunity for me to improve and to give something to this club.”

Calvo is, for many Fire fans, a lightning rod of controversy. He’s a guy some fans love, and one who others blame for the Fire’s defensive mistakes. As Wicky mentioned, there are areas where he wants Calvo to improve. However, here’s why the club likes him:

  • He’s a massive, very popular figure in the locker room. Even back in February and March, when reporters could still attend training in person, this was evident.
  • He’s still only 28 years old.
  • Since he joined Chicago, the Fire have recorded the third most shutouts (12) in MLS. Only Real Salt Lake (16) and Atlanta United (15) have recorded more.
  • Calvo currently leads MLS in interceptions, with 39.
  • He is one of three players to start all 14 matches this season, and he leads the team in minutes played with 1,245.

“I can’t say enough good things about Francisco,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, who also played with Calvo in Minnesota before both players joined the Fire. “He’s a great leader. He’s obviously a very good player. He leads with a good attitude, but also he’s willing to listen, and he learns.

“He’s one of the guys who comes to training every day and is working the hardest. I think that says a lot. That kind of thing is contagious throughout a locker room.”

Calvo was a 2018 MLS All-Star, and was named to the 2018 Concacaf Best XI. He’s earned 50 caps for Costa Rica, and made two appearances in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.