The Chicago Fire already had one Slonina on the roster. Now they have two.
The Fire signed 18-year-old defender Nicholas Slonina from their academy on Tuesday as a homegrown signing. Slonina’s younger brother, Gabriel Slonina, is a 15-year-old goalkeeper who signed as a homegrown in March.
“I am proud of the work being done within our academy,” Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a press release. “Signing Nick for the first team is the latest example and a likely precursor to more success in the near future.”
Nicholas Slonina, from suburban Addison, Illinois, has been in the Fire academy the past four years.
“Nicholas is a solid central defender who is able to play under pressure with both feet,” Fire academy technical director Cedric Cattenoy said in the press release. “He’s extremely vocal along the backline and is a very good teammate. Nick has been a leader for our academy teams and we’re pleased to see him take this next step in his career.”
The Fire now have five homegrown players on the roster. Djordje Mihailović, Jeremiah Gutjahr and Andre Reynolds II round out the group that includes the two Slonina brothers.
Given his age, it would be a surprise to see Nicholas Slonina see much time at defender this season. The Fire have Johan Kappelhof, Francisco Calvo and Marcelo to play at center back and Slonina may not be ready to compete for minutes at the MLS level right away anyway.
The Fire have 17 players under contract, three of which are now homegrown teenagers. The team also doesn’t have a coach and is in search of an additional hire to help on the technical side of the soccer operations staff. It’s going to be a busy next two-and-a-half months for the Fire until the MLS season starts.