Jan. 13, 2014
CHICAGO – The Chicago Fire announced today the team has signed Northwestern alum Chris Ritter as a Homegrown Player. Ritter was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection for the Wildcats, and was honored as the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
“Super excited. It’s great to be here. The Fire is obviously a great organization, a team I grew up supporting. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to play with the First Team,” Ritter said. “I didn’t go into college thinking I was going to be a professional soccer player — That wasn’t my only goal. The way things worked out, I had a good college career and the opportunity just presented itself.”
“I think I have a lot to offer the Fire going down the road,” Ritter said. “I think I’m a steady, consistent player that can hopefully fit in with the guys and add to the team and help the team win in whatever way possible.”
“This is a tremendous honor for both Chris and for our program, and a deserved success for a player whose hard work has allowed him to grow on and off the field during each of his five years on campus,” said Wildcats head coach Tim Lenahan. “There are very few players who at 6’2” have the vision and touch of Chris Ritter and I look forward to heading to Toyota Park this summer to see him play. It’s great to have this connection between Northwestern and our hometown club, the Chicago Fire.”
Ritter is the Fire’s fourth Homegrown Player, where he played in the team’s Fire Academy and Premier Development League.
“Embodying what Chicago loves about its athletes, Chris is a tough, hard-working and skillful player,” Chicago Fire head coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop said. “Kudos to our player development system for producing players like Chris that can smoothly transition to the First Team.
Ritter was named the Big Ten’s 2012 Defensive Player of the Year. A member of the 2009 Big Ten All-Freshman Team, he missed most of the 2010 campaign with a leg injury before returning in 2011 to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors and First Team laurels in 2012 and 2013.
Northwestern in Major League Soccer
J.D. Martin - 2003 MLS Draft, goalkeeper
Brad Napper – 2006 Supplemental Draft (FC Dallas, 2nd Round)
Brad North – 2007 SuperDraft (DC United, 2nd Round)
Dave Roth – 2008 Super Draft (New York Red Bulls, 4th Round)
Mark Blades – 2010 Preseason Camp Invitee (Chicago Fire)
Matt Eliason – 2011 MLS Combine Invitee
Oliver Kupe – 2012 Supplemental Draft (Real Salt Lake, 2nd Round)
Matt Eliason – 2013 New York Red Bulls Reserve League
Chris Ritter – 2013 Homegrown Player (Chicago Fire)
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