Things might work out between the Chicago Fire and 2022 MLS SuperDraft selection Kendall Burks, after all.
When the Fire drafted Burks 11th overall, questions emerged about whether the University of Washington defender was even interested in playing for Chicago. He was on trial at Nottingham Forest in the English Championship, and with a UK passport already in hand, it seemed like he might be staying put.
The Fire held Burks in high regard. He was one of a small handful of players the club was interested in drafting with their first round selection. After the pick came down, the Fire made it clear they had talked to Burks’ camp ahead of the pick. They knew he was on trial in England, and they were ok with it.
Still, it seemed like a calculated gamble, at best. But that gamble might pay off.
Burks left Nottingham Forest, and joined the Fire this week in Austin, Texas for the second half of the club’s training camp. Like the team’s other 2022 draft picks—all four of which are defenders ID’ed by club employees Matt Pearson, Junior Gonzalez, and Eddie Rock—Burks has yet to sign a contract. But, that could happen before the season starts. The Fire are high on Burks’ upside, and a Twitter account that appears to belong to his mother tweeted “see you at Soldier Field,” so perhaps the positive feeling is mutual.
New Fire fans see you at Soldier field https://t.co/FEM7SkgwtD— Keri Burks (@englishsoccerma) February 7, 2022
Burks provides depth at both centerback and right back, and, if he signs, could end up competing with Boris Sekulic and Jhon Espinoza for the starting right back job. After many of us questioned why the Fire would waste such a high pick on a guy who appeared to be heading to England, it looks like the Fire got this one right, after all.