When Chicago Fire players got to SeatGeek Stadium on Monday for Day One of training camp, they were greeted with a preseason rite of passage—the “Beep Test.”
Video provided by the Fire (reporters still aren’t allowed to attend because of Covid-19 restrictions) showed the guys going through the dreaded fitness test, jogging back and forth across the field, trying to get to the end line before a machine fired off the next “beep.”
“The session was good,” Fire head coach Raphael Wicky told reporters on Zoom after training. “First time back on the field since three and a half months. It was nice to be back.”
A few key players weren’t there, however. Second-year defender Mauricio Pineda is gone with the U.S. U-23s in Mexico, trying to earn a spot on the Olympic Qualifying team. Striker Robert Beric got back to Chicago on Sunday, and is undergoing a week-long quarantine before he can join his teammates.
Midfielder Alvaro Medran and defender Miguel Navarro aren’t yet back in the United States. Both players were recently cleared to receive their U.S. green cards (meaning they’ll no longer occupy an international slot on the Fire’s roster). But, both Medran and Navarro are still waiting to get their passports back. For now, they’re stuck in their home countries, for a good reason.
“We most probably will fly them directly to Florida and quarantine them there, so that as soon as possible they can join, they can participate in team training,” Fire sporting director Georg Heitz said.
Video from Monday's Chicago Fire training session. Gotta love the beep test. pic.twitter.com/n1Jtv5DH5W— Patrick McCraney (@patrickmccraney) March 2, 2021
For Wicky, it’s less than ideal to be missing a few of his starters, even if they’re gone for good reasons. But, he’s not worried about it. After all, it’s certainly better than this time last season, when the club still didn’t have all of the new signings here in Chicago.
“These are things we all cannot control,” Wicky said. “Everyone tries to do their best and the club did a great job of having most of the players here and have the transfers done. We can’t control how long it takes to get a passport back from Miguel (Navarro) and Alvaro (Medran).... Those are things we can’t control. Overall, I’m really happy that most of the players are here and we can just start working.”
Full preseason schedule now out
We finally know all of the Fire’s opponents for the preseason camp in Orlando.
March 13 – Chicago Fire FC vs. New York City FC at Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate (11:00 a.m. CT)
March 20 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Philadelphia Union at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (2:00 p.m. CT)
March 27 – Chicago Fire FC vs. FC Cincinnati at Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate (11:00 a.m. CT)
April 3 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Orlando City SC at TBD (11:00 a.m. CT) / Return to Chicago