By Chicago Fire | Press Release
CHICAGO — The Chicago Fire Soccer Club acquired Club Tijuana midfielder Juninho through Major League Soccer’s Allocation Process on Friday, and signed the Brazilian on loan to a one-year contract. The deal includes an option to purchase the player outright and options to extend the MLS contract.
In order to acquire Juninho, the Fire sent general allocation money, the club’s natural second round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, and the No. 3 spot in the Allocation Ranking Order to Minnesota United FC in exchange for the No. 2 spot. Atlanta United, which holds the No. 1 spot in the Allocation Ranking Order, passed on the player.
“Juninho is a champion, a complete player and a beautiful person,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “He excels in all facets of the game and fully understands the commitment it takes to lift trophies. We’re thrilled that Juninho will wear red in his return to MLS.”
Juninho, 27, won three MLS Cups and two MLS Supporters’ Shields with the LA Galaxy during a six-year stint. He originally joined the Galaxy on loan from Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC in 2010, and signed a permanent contract ahead of the 2013 campaign.
He scored 18 goals and had 23 assists in 187 appearances, 180 of which were starts. He was also named to the 2015 MLS All-Star Game. In addition to his regular season exploits, Juninho has one goal and four assists in 21 career MLS Cup Playoff appearances, and four goals and one assist in 18 CONCACAF Champions League games.
“Going into this off-season, we set our intentions on identifying game-changing players with championship experience along the spine of our line-up,” added Rodríguez. “Including the signing of Nemanja Nikolic, we’ve acquired two players whom attracted significant interest from other clubs worldwide.”
The center midfielder was transferred to Liga MX side Club Tijuana on Dec. 23, 2015. He had two goals and two assists in 24 appearances in his one year away from MLS.
Prior to joining the Galaxy, Juninho made one appearance with his original club, Sao Paulo FC.