Fire finally add Michael de Leeuw

After months of pursuit the Fire have finally announced the signing of Dutch attacker Michael de Leeuw. FC Groningen's leading scorer this past season scored 9 times and added 2 assists over 29 Eredivisie contests. He is the Dutch league's second leading goal scorer over the last five seasons with 56 tallies over that span.

As first reported by Fire Confidential in February, the Philadelphia Union held Discovery Rights on de Leeuw and the Fire paid the $50,ooo.00 in allocation money to sign him per league rules. Targeted Allocation Money was also used to pay his budget hit under the DP minimum and sign de Leeuw to a 2.5 year deal with an option for 2019.

He will be added to the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa but will not be eligible to play for the Fire until the summer window opens on July 4. He can train with the club and participate in full until then.

de Leeuw will occupy the eighth international spot on the roster.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    which means by that time we will be completely out of contention for a playoff spot

  • In reply to Stephen Healy:

    Nothing personal but you're in denial, the Fire are out of contention NOW!!!

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    In reply to kaca:

    true, being an optimist i did say "completely" but yes you are right. its ridiculous

  • In reply to kaca:

    haha, yeah, should say "mathematically" instead

  • Will he make this team better? Will he have an impact especially since Paunovic continues to play 7 defensive players each game?

  • 9 goals in 29 games, and 56 over 5 seasons, are not savior numbers, particularly from the Eredivisie. For all the hype, he sounds like another role player on a team in need of a star to orbit

  • I've been pretty patient with the early season/regime rhetoric coming from Pauno and NR so far this season (it's a process, it will take time, the guys are working really hard, etc), but that last comment from NR about needing a veteran captain is REALLY frustrating to me...the guy with the power to correct the problem openly admitting we dont have the players we need, do something about it NR!!! Especially if he thinks it's a lack of leadership on the field. how long have they been working on de Leeuw? Rolled the dice because they didnt want to pay the necessary transfer fee to get him here before july, so now he wont play for 2 months (would have been eligible for 7 more games if he signed may 12)...plenty of time for him to run into hamstring issues or other small knocks that have plagued the team the last few years...if we need that captain so bad, why are we sitting on a pile of money? If de Leewu isnt that captain, why have they only been focusing on him? They say they are looking at other targets but transfer window is closed without ANY mention of bringing in a captain. I dont believe the "it will take 3 years" nonsense, plenty of teams have gone from near bottom to near top the last few seasons, so why does the #3 market in the league have to be patient? And so patient where we have to remain at the very bottom. The preseason had me excited about the new GM and coach, but the worst offensive start in team history, the lowest point total through 9 games in team history, and the recent comment about needing a captain have flushed any of the credibility they earned down the toilet. I was hoping this season and new regime wouldnt be another Groundhog Day-esque disaster, but I'm having flashbacks to two years ago when i was in the stands rooting for ties. Chicago deserves better. The fans deserve better. MLS deserves better. GR's great coverage deserves better! Yo commish, get #hauptmanout!!!

  • In reply to AJties:

    The issue is the owner. NR can only pay for and obtain players the owner authorizes. This team needs a local owner willing to invest in players and state of the art training facilities. Hauptman needs to go!!! Why does the league facilitate the sale and rebranding of the Chivas but leaves the Fire languishing? Is the league satisfied with the Fire as a bottom dwelling MLS wannabe team?

    I like Pauno and respect his abilities. The team is much more cohesive than recent Fire teams. But he does not have the talent to threaten anyone. The team's lack of scoring and dropped points are not due to coaching issues. It is the owner!!

  • In reply to Krasov:

    The comparison between the Fire and Chivas is not a perfect one. The Chivas owners decided they wanted out of MLS after 10 years of not being able to capture the Mexican-American market in LA. They also faced lawsuits from former employees who alleged that they lost their jobs because they were not Hispanic. Those lawsuits became the League's biggest headache and I think, once the decision was made, it was more like a mutual parting of the ways.

    The situation here lacks the legal drama. And Hauptman seems to be getting a return on his investment that the Chivas owners did not, so he's not eager to get out.

    I have to wonder how much the League can do to tell Hauptman how to run his club. I imagine that all MLS owners have some minimum standards that they have to maintain. If Hauptman is meeting those bare minimums, what can the League do otherwise?

  • This is a before-my-time question: who dished out the moola for Blanco?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    The prior regime. Hauptman inherited Blanco. It happened around the same time.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Confirmed my suspicion.

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    "Dutch league's second leading goal scorer over the last five seasons" sounds very impressive until you realize that Eredivisie players who are good at scoring goals tend to not spend more than a couple of seasons in the league.

    That said, he does sound like a very good player and a solid addition to the team. Would have been nice to have him earlier.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    It was an interesting read. Thank you for this blog! It's helped me stay connected to the team after leaving Illinois, and I appreciate the hard work you put into it.

  • In reply to Dan Koev:

    Thanks for reading Dan!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Reading Luis' The Red Card was what ultimately hooked me on the Fire. I've always been a soccer fan, but only casually watched/followed the Fire before then. And since I also live out of Chicago now, this blog is really the only thing that keeps me interested in the team at this point. In at least my own experience, these blogs have been key marketing pieces for the team...I hope they realize it.

    Keep up the good work, glad you've kept this going.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Thanks Tweaky!

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Ah yeah, Luis was great, as is Guillermo. If only the quality of the team matched their quality...

  • Top scorers for the Eredivsie the last five years:
    Bas Dost - 32 goals was with Herenveen now with Wolfsburg
    Wilfred Bony - 31 goals was with Vitesse now with Man City
    Alfreð Finnbogason - 29 goals was with Herenveen now with Real Sociedad
    Memphis Depay - 22 goals was with PSV now with Man United
    Vincent Janssen - 27 goals at AZ

    Why couldn't we go after one of those strikers or a striker with those kind of numbers? Look what Finnbogason did at Herenveen from 2012 to 2014, 65 games played 53 goals scored. Bony from 2011-2013 at Vitesse, 65 games played 46 goals scored.

    Why does it seem like the Fire are just settling? Is this the best they can do?

  • From ESPNFC's article about possible rivalries after the next round of MLS expansion. The last sentence of the second paragraph speaks volumes

    Minnesota vs. Chicago Fire

    This one is all about the Midwest, mostly built on the animosity created through NFL matchups between the cities' two teams during the years. The geographical ties between the Twin Cities and Chicago are there, albeit relatively tenuous; when it takes six hours to drive the 400 miles from one to the other, it's hardly going to foster a large amount of natural disdain.

    And yet, Chicago is desperate enough for real rivals that there's at least a chance that something might catch on. At some 350 miles away, Columbus is currently the closest MLS town to Chicago, but the Fire don't have much antagonism for Crew SC. It doesn't help that Chicago is nearly irrelevant in MLS these days; only a revival of the club and some real clashes of note will bring out a rivalry between the two.

    In the beginning at least, we should expect Minnesota's fans to travel in significant numbers. That will mitigate the deflating impact of the mileage between the two cities and give Chicago's fans another target for their passion.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Sadly true

  • In reply to Doug:

    As a supporter, I can say that there is about zero love for columbus. It's very much a rivalry with them.

    As for MN, the relationship would be more on a friendly basis than bitter (think Portland, but not quite as chummy.) There are people among the Chicago supporters with MN/up-north roots, plus friendly relationships have developed over the years as MN has been in the lower tiers.

    I would tend to think if there is animosity, it would be more among the more casual fan base, for the very reasons you state- American football.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I always felt that the best chicago rivalry was New England. I used to love going to those games. You always knew that it was going to be a passionate, hard fought game. I felt it was at its height when Twellman, Shalrie Joseph, and Big Red were their main stars. The 3 were always fun to watch together. And when we would meet in the playoffs, everything was just that much more intense. Of course those playoff meetings were, more often then not, better for New England. But it made for very entertaining soccer. Unfortunately with the form of the fire the last 6 years, that rivalry has become pretty much irrelevant as no one is concerned about losing to the Fire these days.

  • In reply to edubs:

    The pinnacle of times at Toyota Park.....go to the 4:54 mark...

    What a botched opportunity.
    This seems like ages ago.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That does feel like ages ago. I watched that one on tv and went to RSL game, which was a heart breaker. Damn that Nick Romando ...

  • In reply to jlatwell:

    I remember when Nick Rimando first became RSL's keeper and thinking, man that guy sucks. No wonder RSL is so bad... How wrong I was.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That was the last time we made the playoffs right? I miss having a post season...

  • In reply to edubs:

    If you don't count the one play-in game at home against Houston in 2012....yes.

  • I did an interview with C97 Sirens about Fire Confidential. Check it out here......

  • I think the biggest rivalry the Fire have right now is with their fans.

  • In reply to waamsy:


  • In reply to waamsy:

    This site REALLY needs a "Love it!" button! :)

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Hear Hear

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