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Chicago Fire announce contract extensions, roster cuts heading into 2021 MLS season

Fan favorite CJ Sapong is among the players not coming back

Sporting Kansas City v Chicago Fire FC
CJ Sapong posted a farewell to fans on Instagram
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s not surprising after an eleventh place finish, but there are some changes coming to the Chicago Fire roster for 2021. There are currently 27 players signed for next season, but a few familiar faces aren’t coming back.

The Fire exercised the 2021 contract options on four players: forward Elliot Collier, midfielder Djordje Mihailović, defender Wyatt Omsberg and defender Nicholas Slonina.

Two players didn’t see their options picked up by the club: midfielder Jeremiah Gutjahr, and goalkeeper Connor Sparrow. Gutjahr is eligible for the MLS Waiver Draft, while Sparrow is eligible to participate in the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

Midfielder Micheal Azira and forward CJ Sapong are both free agents. Sapong posted a farewell to Chicago on Instagram shortly after the news broke:

My CF97 faithful!

Our illustrious journey comes to a close! While it hasn’t ended the way I envisioned, this is the nature of the business!

I look back on our time together and am enamored by the passion of the supporters and the unyielding work of front office, technical and medical staff as well as my fellow teammates.

I’m especially thankful for the compassion and support I’ve felt from the members of the surrounding community from day one. I invested a piece of my soul into Chicago with goals and visions of togetherness and empowerment. I’ve already felt the luminous nature of those dividends and am so excited to see how those seeds continue to sprout and grow in my departure!

And so, I leave you Windy City, with the best of wishes. Just keep blowing me kisses ☺️✌

The club said it is currently in discussions with midfielder Brandt Bronico regarding his future.

The Chicago Fire’s sporting director, Georg Heitz, is scheduled to talk to reporters Friday regarding these decisions, and what we can expect for 2021.

Here are the guys already coming back for 2021: midfielder Ignacio Aliseda, forward Robert Berić, defender Jonathan Bornstein, goalkeeper Chris Brady, defender Francisco Calvo, midfielder Javier Casas Jr., midfielder Przemysław Frankowski, midfielder Gastón Giménez, midfielder Brian Gutiérrez, midfielder Fabian Herbers, defender Johan Kappelhof, goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm, midfielder Álvaro Medrán, midfielder Alex Monis, defender Miguel Navarro, defender/midfielder Mauricio Pineda, defender Andre Reynolds II, midfielder Allan Rodriguez, defender Boris Sekulić, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, midfielder Luka Stojanović and defender Carlos Terán.

This is the entire 2021 roster, as it stands:

Goalkeeper (4): Chris Brady, Kenneth Kronholm, Bobby Shuttleworth, Gabriel Slonina

Defender (10): Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Calvo, Johan Kappelhof, Miguel Navarro, Wyatt Omsberg, Mauricio Pineda, Andre Reynolds II, Boris Sekulić, Nicholas Slonina, Carlos Terán

Midfielder (11): Ignacio Aliseda, Javier Casas Jr., Przemysław Frankowski, Gastón Giménez, Brian Gutiérrez, Fabian Herbers, Alex Monis, Álvaro Medrán, Djordje Mihailović, Allan Rodriguez, Luka Stojanović

Forward (2): Robert Berić, Elliot Collier