Robert Berić has received his green card, meaning he will no longer occupy an international slot on the Chicago Fire roster.
When Stanislav Ivanov returns from injury, which is still on track for later this summer, the Berić green card means the Fire will be roster compliant—right at the limit of eight international players. Luka Stojanovic is also in Europe right now awaiting a green card appointment, and the Fire have the process rolling on other players, as well. But, the clock is ticking to get those done. MLS has imposed a July 7 deadline—after that, any players receiving their green cards will remain listed as internationals for the rest of the 2021 season.
Still, if the Stojanovic green card comes through, the Fire will have one free international slot, which could be used on a summer signing, or traded to another team.
College Help on the way?
Fire Academy product and Indiana University star Victor Bezerra trained with the Fire for the first time today, and 2021 draft pick Jackson Ragen, who was the Big Ten Defender of the Year at Michigan, has been in Bridgeview training since Monday.
Fire head coach Raphael Wicky didn’t want to offer an opinion on Bezerra just yet, but he seems high on Ragen.
“Victor trained with us the first day today, so I’m not gonna give you a judgement after one training,” Wicky said. “Obviously I’ve seen a lot of his goals, he’s a very clean finisher, he knows where the goal is, has a good shot, has a good eye also for the last pass, but that’s just something I’ve seen from the videos. But, I’m happy to have him here now. Jackson is here since Monday. He’s fitting in, he’s a good passer, he’s calm and good with the ball, and has a good presence.”
We’ll see if the Fire decide to offer either guy a contract.
Pinzon to Chivas
One of the Fire’s other 2021 picks, Christian Pinzon from Cal State Fullerton, will sign with Chivas in Mexico, where he’s been training for the last couple months, a source tells Hot Time in Old Town. The Fire will maintain his MLS rights for the next 18 months.
Ivanov/Kronholm injury updates
Wicky said that Stanislav Ivanov’s recovery from knee surgery is coming along well, and he’s still on target to be back sometime later this season. Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm had another setback in his recovery, however.
“Stani is doing well,” Wicky said. “He’s progressing slowly. I think he’s on time, I saw him on the field doing some little things, but he’s obviously still quite a bit away. Kenny just needed another little break for a few days. His knee had a little reaction in training on the field, so we give him a little bit of a break.”
Speaking of Ivanov, he’ll be out in the community helping promote Covid vaccinations on Saturday, 2-4 p.m. at the Copernacus Center. You can meet him, and win free Fire tickets at the event.
Get vaccinated and get FREE @ChicagoFire tickets + meet Midfielder Stanislav Ivanov! #JoinTheTeam this Saturday, June 12 from 2-4 p.m. at @CopernicusCtr. No registration required and free parking available. #ProtectChicago https://t.co/pO01kDnkpm pic.twitter.com/TOZeWzcmhx— ChiPublicHealth (@ChiPublicHealth) June 9, 2021
International Duty Updates
Finally, Wicky expects Francisco Calvo to return to the Fire after Wednesday night’s United States-Costa Rica match in Utah. Gastón Giménez will remain in South America on Copa America duty for Paraguay, and Przemyslaw Frankowski will stay in Europe with the Polish team during the Euro 2020 Tournament. Because the players are vaccinated and the Fire have hit the 85 percent vaccination threshold, none of the players will be required to quarantine when they get back, which is a massive change from last season.