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Chicago Fire sign second-youngest player in MLS history: 14-year-old Gabriel Slonina

Pictured from left to right: Chicago Fire Academy technical director Cedric Cattenoy, Gabriel Slonina, Fire Academy goalkeeper coach Igor Dimov and Fire coach Veljko Paunović

CHICAGO — This has been quite an eventful last few months for the Chicago Fire Academy and Fire homegrown signings.

The Fire lost a standout homegrown prospect in Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman in January. That same month, the team signed Andre Reynolds, one of the youngest homegrown signings in club history and the first player from the city of Chicago to be signed to a homegrown deal.

Now, the Fire have signed the youngest homegrown player in MLS history. The club signed 14-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina on Friday.

Slonina is from suburban Addison, Ill., and has played for the under-14 and under-15 U.S. boys national teams. He has been in the Fire Academy for three years.

“Obviously, we believe that Gabriel has high potential,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodrίguez said. “While we would always prefer not to sign players at such a young age, a convergence of factors made his signing at this particular moment the right course of action for everyone. We will be patient and deliberate in advancing Gabriel’s development while ensuring he retains some normalcy as a teenager.”

Slonina turns 15 in May. Only Freddy Adu was younger when he signed with MLS and D.C. United in 2004. Adu signed before homegrown signings existed in MLS.

Slonina is under contract with the Fire through the 2022 season with a club option for 2023.

He isn’t the only goalkeeper prospect in the academy pipeline. Damian Las, a 16-year-old, has represented the U.S. at the under-17 level.

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