The Chicago Red Stars is one of the many teams in the National League that features several exciting young stars. This past season saw newcomer Christina Pinnick had become the first-ever player to earn a call-up to the MLS from the US National Team. Pinnick was one of the many call-ups that the Red Stars made to help them prepare for the 2021 FIFA World Cup. Along with fellow US players Loriussano, rookie Sarah Huffman and defender Christie Rampone, Pinnick gave the Red Stars a spark. With the help of Pinnick and the rest of the returning Red Stars players, the future looks bright for the team’s future.
This past spring, the Chicago Red Stars held a tryout for some high school girls in the area. Among those who signed up were ago from Highland Park (IL), Brandon (IL), Deonnaise (GA), Glendale (IA), and North Central (IL). Of the tryouts, only two players made it to the Chicago Red Stars training sessions, and those were forward Arielle Widmann and goalkeeper Rebekah Brooks. It was tough for these girls to stand out amongst the crowd as they all looked like average high school students, but they are now becoming one of the favorite players of head coach Lisa Montag and her staff.
On the other side of things, the promising attacking trio of Amy Barlow, Lauren Cooke, and Kiara Gaines is the new Red Stars goalkeepers. The trio has combined for a stellar start to the new season. With the trio on the field, the Red Stars should have no problem keeping hold of second and third place in the standings. If the team can win a few more games in the coming months, the streak of consecutive second and third place finishes could be broken.
For soccer fans, the exciting, younger side of the Chicago Fire is always worth watching. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the defending MLS Cup champions, the Houston Rockets. Both teams will be contesting for the Western Conference title this season. Each unit has standout players that are making their mark on the MLS. Two of the more notable are goalkeeper Joe Corona and right-back center-back DeMarcus Roy.
The Futures Academy has had the honor of hosting the Chicago Fire and Houston Rockets in the past, and the youngsters from both teams have impressed the coaching staff. The Red Stars is led by the services of head coach Juancho Vallejo, and it is clear from the beginning that he has a lot of faith in his team. This has been proven throughout the year, with some key players like forwards Kosuke Kimura and Kyle Cheney making the grade. It will be interesting to see what the team can do come to the end of the season.
The Houston Rockets are led by the star-studded duo of Brad Davis and Tracy McGrady, although the depth this year is a bit thin. It will be interesting to see what the team does when all of its big names are not playing. The Futures Academy has brought in promising players like striker Cody Crocker, defender Andre Silva, goalkeeper Alex Garcia, and goalkeeper David Steinel to try and develop their skills. The team has also signed several high school players as part of its academy program, including Zach Adams, Kipperlee Brooks, Jordan Berry, Trevano Blevins, and Cole Seiler.
The Chicago Fire is another team in the running for the Eastern Conference title this season. Fans of the Chicago Fire can join the summer camp, which runs from May through August in Joliet, IL. There will be many future Red Stars players attending this camp, and it is an excellent way for the team to experience what it’s like to play in the MLS.
Finally, there is the new team that just recently joined the league, the Colorado Rapids. This team is led by general manager Tim Gehry and has a vibrant history in the company. Many of the team members that started in the MetroStars have played on the Colorado Rapids, so the chemistry is already there. It will be interesting to see how this team fares throughout the season, especially with rookie standout Marco Pappa. The Rapids are an exciting team to watch, but they will need a lot of help from outside of their staff to get them over the hump this year.