Bastian Schweinsteiger is staying with the Chicago Fire for another year.
The club announced Wednesday the 34-year-old star signed a new contract through the 2019 season. He will remain a Designated Player on the roster.
Schweinsteiger entered last winter as a free agent and re-signed on Jan. 17. This time around, it didn’t take as long for a new deal to be official.
The German World Cup winner joined the Fire early in 2017 season. He helped lead the team to its first playoff berth since 2012. He scored four goals and had six assists in 25 MLS appearances in 2017, missing some time due to injury.
In 2018, the Fire struggled to replicate the regular-season success of 2017. Schweinsteiger finished with 31 appearances in MLS play. He finished with three goals and six assists.
The Fire finished with 32 points, the third-lowest point total in club history. Despite that, Schweinsteiger remained optimistic in what he said in the club’s press release.
“Let’s raise a trophy. I believe in this Club and I believe that we can be champions,” Schweinsteiger said. “This American journey has been very special for me and my family. I love being a part of the Chicago Fire and we appreciate how the city has embraced us with open arms. To the Fire fans, from my family to yours, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season and I will see you in Chicago next year.”
Due to injuries and some defenders failing to assert themselves, Schweinsteiger moved to center back for a chunk of 2018. With Christian Dean retiring, the Fire declining Jonathan Campbell’s option and Johan Kappelhof being out of contract, the Fire are in desperate need of defenders. Unless the Fire are able to bring in multiple quality center backs this winter, Schweinsteiger could be used at that spot again.
The Fire have plenty of work to do this offseason, but with Schweinsteiger locked in for 2019, the Fire have a solid core to build around. Schweinsteiger, 2017 MLS Golden Boot winter Nemanja Nikolic and Dax McCarty form a solid trio at the top of the roster. There are big questions after that, but the Fire at least have something to build upon.