Comparing the first year of his ownership of Chicago Fire FC to starting a painting, Joe Mansueto opened his checkbook to make sure there was no shortage of brushes and paint available.
“I feel like a painting will make it,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “Last year we got the first coat of paint on the painting, we got the motifs in the right place. You could see the outline of the painting. This year we’re going back and adding more depth and detail to the painting and making it even better. We have made great strides in this first year. We have reached the basics of painting. Now let’s go back and add more depth and refinement and take it to the next level. “
Part of this refinement is making sure that there is a robust scouting department and academy in place for Sports Director Georg Heitz and Technical Director Sebastian Pelzer, which he describes as “critical to our future”.
“I am ready to spend as quickly as Georg and Sebastian are ready to set up a scout organization and expand our development of the academy and youth programs,” said Mansueto.
That has already paid off for Chicago, which last week took on 17-year-old Colombian striker Jhon Jader Duran from FC Envigado, the latest international signing in MLS history. He is the club’s third signing in the winter, every 21 years or younger: striker Chinonso Offor (20), defender Jhon Espinoza (21) and winger Stanislav Ivanov (21).
Mansueto said he attended every Fire home game on his return to Soldier Field and described it as a “tremendous experience” that he will hopefully share with fans in the coming season. He also plans to build a training facility within the city limits – the club is currently training at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview – although Mansueto admitted that this is more of a long-term goal considering how sparse real estate is in the Windy City.
Click here to read the full article from the comprehensive interview.