The Chicago Fire's first signing for the 2018 season is Indiana University defender Grant Lillard
, who agreed to a one-year contract as a Homegrown Player with club options for 2019 and
Lillard is the eighth player to sign with an MLS team as a HG out of college so far this winter: Chicago Fire:
Grant Lillard (Indiana Univ.) FC
Brandon Servania (Wake Forest Univ.)
-- Kris Reaves (Univ. of Portland) Montreal Impact:
Jason Beaulieu (Univ. of New Mexico)
NY Red Bulls:
Politz (Wake Forest Univ.) Real Salt Lake:
Aaron Herrera (Univ. of New Mexico)
-- Corey Baird (Stanford Univ.) San Jose Earthquakes:
JT Marcinkowski (Georgetown
"It's a dream come true to sign with my hometown club," Lillard said. "After moving here in high school, this is where I set as my goal to play. It's an unbelievable experience to
have it become a reality. Even with the academy, we always talked about what it means to represent the Chicago Fire and wear the badge. To be able to do it now at the senior level and in front of
hometown fans is an unbelievable honor."
Lillard captained the Hoosiers to the College Cup final in his senior season and anchored a defense that led the nation with 18 shutouts and
allowed just seven goals. He was a Hermann Trophy finalist and first-team All-American and also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2014, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and
First-Team All-Big Ten in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
2018 Chicago Fire roster:
IN: Grant Lillard (Indiana Univ., Homegrown signing).
OUT: Joey Calistri, Matej Dekovic, Patrick
Doody, Collin Fernandez (Phoenix Rising, free), John Goossens, Michael Harrington (North Carolina FC), Juninho (Tijuana/MEX, loan expired), Richard Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Joao Meira,
Arturo Alvarez (Houston Dynamo, trade), David Arshakyan.
Jorge Bava, Stefan Cleveland, Matt Lampson.
Defenders: Jonathan Campbell, Jorge Corrales, Christian Dean, Johan Kappelhof, Grant Lillard, Matt Polster, Brandon Vincent.
Midfielders: David Accam, Brandt Bronico, Drew Conner, Daniel Johnson, Dax McCarty, Djordje Mihailovic.
Forwards: Michael de Leeuw, Nemanja Nikolic, Luis Solignac.