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Chicago Fire acquires Germany legend Bastian Schweinsteiger as Designated Player

Chicago Fire acquires Germany legend Bastian Schweinsteiger as Designated Player (Image courtesy: Chicago Fire SC)

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced the acquisition of German midfielder and international soccer star Bastian Schweinsteiger from Manchester United. Schweinsteiger has won more championships than any player to have ever signed to play in Major League Soccer, and is a reigning World Cup champion as a member of Germany in 2014.

“Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of our sport’s greatest champions,” said Fire owner and chairman Andrew Hauptman. “We are excited for soccer fans everywhere to have the opportunity to watch the most decorated player in the league during the Fire’s 20th season.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great. My move to Chicago Fire is no different,” Schweinsteiger said. “Through my conversations with Nelson and Pauno, I’m convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project.“

Schweinsteiger, 32, signed a one-year deal and will occupy a Designated Player spot on the club’s roster. Schweinsteiger will officially be added to the roster and available for selection upon passing a team physical, and pending receipt of his ITC and P1 Visa.

„This is a historic moment for our club,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez said. “We have added one of the greatest champions in all of sports. Bastian’s talents, attitude, and character will be a perfect complement to our squad as we continue building a championship program.“

Schweinsteiger’s German debut came on June 6, 2004 against Hungary, launching a national team career that would lead to appearances in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) and four UEFA European Championships (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016). He holds the German record for most UEFA European Championship appearances with 18, a mark he achieved last summer as captain of Die Mannschaft. His career also includes a World Cup title in 2014. He has retired from international competition, and played his final match for Germany on Sept. 1, 2016. Internationally, he boasts 24 goals in 121 appearances for Germany.

As a club player, Schweinsteiger helped Bayern Munich to the UEFA Champions League crown in 2012-13, a year in which he also earned Bundesliga Player of the Year honors. Schweinsteiger won eight Bundesliga titles during his time with Bayern Munich, and also has seven DFB-Pokal (German Cup) championships. In all, the German international has been a part of 23 major domestic and international cups during his playing career, more than any previous player entering their first season in MLS.

“Having the strongest possible midfield is essential for how we want to play,” said Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic. “We see Bastian helping our organization of the attack, and impacting the final third build-up with his vision and creativity to produce the final pass, as well as his capacity to score goals. His versatility on the field, and his immense experience at the highest levels of this sport will be a great benefit to our team.”

During his 15-year club career, Schweinsteiger has amassed 70 goals and 103 assists in 535 first team games. He signed his first professional contract in December of 2002, joining Bayern Munich after four years in their youth system. Schweinsteiger remained with the Bavarian side for 13 years before his move to Manchester United in July of 2015.

(Chicago Fire Press Release)