The Chicago Fire youth movement continues, with the club today announcing the signing of Colombian forward Jhon Jáder Durán from Envigado FC. At just 17, Durán becomes the youngest international player signing in MLS history.
Durán is a 6’ 3” striker who was recently named by The Guardian as one of the 60 best youth footballers in the world. Because he’s under 18, Durán’s contract with Chicago won’t begin until January 2022, so he’ll spend the next year at Envigado. His contract is a three-year deal (2022, 2023, 2024) with club options for 2025 and 2026.
“Jhon is a very special and highly rated young talent, who will be an excellent addition to our Club,” Fire Sporting Director Georg Heitz said via email. “We’re extremely excited that Jhon has decided to take the next step in his career with the Chicago Fire, as he received interest from numerous Clubs from around the world. His signing is a testament to our ownership’s vision to become a top destination for talented young players. Although Jhon is unable to join us right away, we will work closely with Envigado FC to ensure a smooth transition to the Club in January 2022.”
Durán comes from Envigado FC, the same club that Fire defender Carlos Terán signed from last season. The Envigado Academy has produced stars like James Rodriguez and Juan Fernando Quintero, and The Guardian’s piece describes him as a young Romalu Lukaku.
Because he’s been receiving a lot of attention, the Fire decided to push forward with a deal now, rather than waiting until he turns 18 in December. The Fire were fearful a big European club would swoop in and buy him first.
He’s made 24 appearances (10 starts) and scored two goals since making his professional debut with Envigado in 2019. He became the second-youngest goal scorer in the history of the Columbian first division at 15-years, 263 days old, by scoring in the ninth minute of his first pro start.
Internationally, Durán has two caps for Columbia’s U-17 National Team, both appearances coming during the 2019 South American U-17 Championship in Peru. He’s recently been promoted to Columbia’s U-20 team.
Once he joins the Fire in January 2022, Durán will occupy an international slot.