[MLS 2014 TRANSACTIONS] The Chicago Fire won the rights to midfielder Benji Joya in a weighted lottery. The U.S. U-20 will join the Fire on a one-year loan with a transfer option from Mexican club Santos.
“Benji is a talented young player,” said Chicago head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop. “He has international experience and will be a great addition as we continue to build and strengthen our squad.”
Joya, 20, was one of the top players on the USA's 2013 Under-20 World Cup team but was stuck on Santos' sub-20 team.
He played four games for Santos during the 2012-13 Mexican season, but he made no first-team appearances in the Liga MX in 2013-14. He played two games off the bench in the Copa MX, a cup competition in which most first division clubs use reserve players, and otherwise played for Santos in Mexico's sub-20 championship it won in December.
Joya attended Overfelt High School in San Jose, Calif., but chose Santos over college after finishing high school in 2011. He was also torn between staying at home -- where he helped his mother with her janitorial business -- and going to Mexico, where his parents were born.
Chicago (68% chances), Seattle (29%) and Real Salt Lake (3%) entered the lottery.