The Chicago Fire are going Full Mingo.
The Fire and Forward Madison FC today announced a new affiliation between the two clubs.
“We are thrilled to partner with Forward Madison FC as our USL affiliate,” Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz said in a news release. “Madison is one of the best run clubs in USL and provides the opportunity for our younger players to develop at a top-tier organization.”
The deal allows the Fire to loan players to Madison. In addition, Forward Madison can select Fire Academy players for games and training sessions. Academy players would still be able to retain their amateur status for NCAA eligibility.
“We’re excited to work with the Chicago Fire as our MLS affiliate in 2020,” said Forward Madison FC Chief Operating Officer Conor Caloia in a release. “We feel this partnership will have a significant impact on our fight to deliver a championship to Madison this season. Between the ownership, management team and coaching staff for the Chicago Fire, there is a great energy in that organization right now that aligns well with where are we going.”
Forward Madison plays its home matches at Breese Stevens Field in downtown Madison, Wisconsin—which is around two and a half hours from Chicago by car. As a part of the deal, a member of the Fire’s technical staff will be present at every Forward Madison home game to monitor the development of the players.
There’s also the opportunity for a friendly between the two clubs.
The Fire were previously affiliated with the USL’s Lansing Ignite, which folded after last season.
Madison is coached by former Fire assistant Daryl Shore, and Forward Madison assistant coach Neil Hlavaty is a Chicago-area native.
Fire sporting director Georg Heitz, technical director Sebastian Pelzer, and Senior Director of Football Operations Eddie Rock will all be on hand for an event in Madison tonight officially announcing the partnership. They’ll seal the Chicago-Madison affiliation with a shot of Malort, and chase it with a Wisconsin beer.