Yallop evaluating roster as phase two of camp begins

Frank Yallop addressed media yesterday in his weekly conference call as the Fire have begun the second leg of training camp in Bradenton, Florida. A match against DC United on Saturday should feature minutes for some of the first team after last week's preseason opener showcased mostly young players and trialists. Yallop was accompanied by Clint Mathis (who will be a fun add to the staff). Here are the highlights:

  • Players in camp: A few players from Ave Maria have not returned to Bradenton. Yallop expects to go into the season with 29 0r 30 players on the roster. "There will be some decisions made after this camp and even up to going to Tucson," he said. He also expressed what he believes is the need to let players know as soon as possible if they're not going to make the final roster. If he feels players aren't going to make it (due to numbers, roster space, etc) he will make the move early enough so that they have a chance to catch on somewhere else. Yallop said the clubs will have 36-37 players in Bradenton for this phase.
  • Internationals return: Mike Magee and Sean Johnson have rejoined the team after training with the USMNT in January.
  • Youngsters will get a shot: This seems to be a topic at every press conference and Yallop once again reiterated that players like Harrison Shipp and Victor Pineda will be given an opportunity to play. "I love to play young players if they're good enough and ready for the challenge," said Yallop.
  • Joya joins the club: Benji Joya has joined his new teammates after finding his way to Chicago via weighted lottery. Yallop said he hadn't seen a lot of Joya (he played in a San Jose academy system briefly) but contacts in Mexico are very high on him. He looks to be a #8 or a two-way midfielder who is confident on the ball and will move it around. "Any player who gets to Santos Laguna and plays on the first team has to have something."
  • Puppo close to officially gone: He's still technically a part of the roster but it doesn't seem like that will be for much longer. "Federico Puppo's (contract) is still getting resolved right now. It's going to come to an end and Federico will be off the roster. We're working on that and I don't think that will be an issue," he explained.
  • Depth at left back: One of the players vying for a spot is US U-20 left back Parker Walsh who played briefly overseas before heading back to the US.  A "numbers game" may make it difficult for him to stay on but Yallop wants to make sure that the pieces they need are on the roster.
  • Mathis on deciding to coach: Clint Mathis wasn't always looking to be a coach but seems to be very excited to be a part of a technical staff now. "As a player you don't ever want to think, hey I'm going to coach because you never want the dream to end," he said. " When I did retire in August of 2010 I had a wife and two children and I wanted to step away from the game a little bit because that's all I ever did - traveling, changing teams, picking the family up and moving them. I just wanted a little bit of down time. After a year and a half off he started working with the Galaxy academy and that led to his decision to continue to pursue coaching." He also referred to himself as a bald, fat guy.
  • Style of play: Yallop is looking to press hard and look to win the ball back in the opponent's half. The actual style should be a departure from what we saw of his teams in San Jose.
  • The Fire will play DC United on Saturday at 6:00 cdt.

Current roster

Under contract

GK (3) - Johnson, Reynish, Kann

DEF (8) - Berry, Hurtado, Ianni, Jumper, Kinney, Palmer, Segares, Soumare

MID (11) - Atouba, Duka, King, Larentowicz, Alex, Nyarko, Pause, Pineda, Ritter, Shipp, Joya

FWD (7) - Amarikwa, Anangono, Gentile, Gulley, Magee, Rolfe, Barouch*

Unsigned draft picks remaining in camp

MID (1) - Ciesulka

DEF (1) - Franco

Known guest players still in camp

GK (1) - Meves

DEF (2) - Walsh, Ward

MID (1) - Braun


*loan expired


Filed under: 2014 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Great update, thanks.

    Are the weekly press conferences a new thing? I don't remember them being so regular, but then again maybe I didn't notice before. It seems like there's a bit more transparency with Yallop et al than we saw before.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Klopas had weekly conference calls from training last year as well. Yallop does seem to answer questions more directly though since he is also Director of Soccer and has a hand in everything going down.

  • GR, you listed 29 players under contract. Can the Fire/MLS cut these players and extinguish their contracts? Of these 29, who is on the bubble? King, Kinney, Ritter?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    A lot of those contracts are not guaranteed. In fact, most MLS contracts are semi-guaranteed....meaning that once the season starts players can be cut before July 1 and the league/teams are not on the hook for the entire salary.

    Long story short....yes, players can be cut from that list and some of the players under contract are on the bubble and not guaranteed a spot even though they're "under contract."

    I'd say guys like Kinney, Jumper, Gulley, Atouba are on the bubble. Ritter will be in.

  • Looking at the roster possibly King, Gulley, Atouba, and possibly Ritter could be on the bubble, Kinney also depending on his condition. I expect Barouch, Franco, and Ciesulka to make the club.
    Gulley really hasn't shown much since being signed, although at one time was rated as one of the top 17 y/o's.
    Under Yallop, I expect the policy is if you don't show, you go.
    Don't expect Yallop to play favorites like Frank the 1st. was
    prone to do. Overall, stronger, deeper, and somewhat younger
    lineup than last year.

  • I honestly would go with Jumper over Baky. I thought he played really well last year and showed great promise. If won't get better sitting on he bench, but I think he has a great upside. I thought the same about Kinney before he got hurt. He just is not the same player. I think that Jumper shows more promise than Kinney did and is a more technically skilled player than Kinney.

  • Really liking what I'm seeing in the second half with these young guys. They are showing a lot of quality against the DC second string.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Shipp and Joya were solid, also really liked Ward out on the right.

    Pause looked a step behind everyone else, which bummed me out.

  • Agreed, Shipp, Joya, and Grant Ward were the players of the game, second team looked better than the starters, Pause seemed to be slowing down, his main contribution to the team may be his club room presence.

  • Two recent items are the most positive things I've read about the Fire in almost two years: (1) BENJI JOYA (Chicago). Only three teams entered to Joya lottery, but the 20-year-old Californian, picked up from Mexican club Santos on a one-year loan, could be one of the best first-year Americans in MLS. The first thing will be to find a place for him in the Fire's midfield. Joya, who hit the post in Saturday's 2-0 win over D.C. United, can play centrally as a No. 8 -- his preferred position -- or No. 10, but he can also play on the right side.--from Soccer America; (2) Style of play: Yallop is looking to press hard and look to win the ball back in the opponent's half.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    The most alarming part of that is that Soccer America almost got something right. ;)

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