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Chicago Fire Notebook: Navarro’s new contract, MLS NEXT Pro, and big honors for Gaga

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MLS: Chicago Fire at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Fire signed fullback Miguel Navarro to a new contract. Navarro is under contract with the Fire through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

Navarro, 22, is from Venezuela, but will not occupy an international slot on the club’s 2022 roster after receiving his U.S. Green Card earlier this year.

“Signing Miguel to a new contract was a priority for us as we believe that he has outperformed his initial deal over the past two seasons,” Sporting Director Georg Heitz said in a statement. “Since arriving to the Club, Miguel has adjusted well to the demands of the league and has worked hard to consistently earn his place in the starting lineup. With our philosophy toward developing young players, we’re confident that Miguel will continue to make progress while helping the team achieve its goals.”

The news comes after the Fire re-signed two other defenders—Jonathan Bornstein and Wyatt Omsberg—last week.

MLS Next Pro

After years of watching other clubs with No. 2 teams passing the Fire by, Chicago will finally have its own place for younger and fringe players to get crucial in-game playing time. The Fire will be one of 21 teams taking part in MLS NEXT Pro, Major League Soccer’s new lower division league.

Chicago’s team will be led by head coach Ludovic Taillandier, and former Fire forward Patrick Nyarko will serve as the team’s assistant coach. The team’s name, home stadium and full schedule, along with coaching and support staff will be announced at a future date.

Twenty MLS teams are joining the league for its inaugural season, along with Rochester NY FC. Eight more MLS teams will join in the 2023 season.

Transfermarkt Honors Gaga, Brady

Transfermarkt recently put out a list of the ten most valuable goalkeepers in the world who were born in 2004, and two of them play for the Chicago Fire. Gabriel Slonina, who is busy attending his first USMNT senior team camp, came in at No. 1 on the list, at a value of $550,000. Chris Brady, the Fire’s other teenage goalkeeping star, was ranked No. 10, with a value of $110,000.

With European clubs already knocking on the Fire’s door about Slonina, it could actually be Brady who becomes the club’s star goalkeeper down the road. For now, barring an injury, “Gaga” is a lock to start the 2022 in goal.