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Chicago Fire signing Gulley as Homegrown Player

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The Chicago Fire will be adding another player to its roster, but it won't be a player coming via the international route.

The Fire have agreed to terms with U.S. Under-17 striker Kellen Gulley to make him the latest Homegrown Player signed by the Fire, sources told SBI this week. Chicago is expected to make the announcement next week.

Gulley was one of the stars of the U.S. Under-17 national team before a knee injury sidelined him and forced him to miss the Under-17 World Cup.

Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the nation, Gulley has been a star for the Chicago Fire Youth teams as well as being a part of the U.S. Under-17 National Team Residency Program.

A native of Clinton, Mississippi, Gulley is a speedy striker who is considered good enough to be fast-tracked into earning playing time in MLS by next year.

What do you think of this development? Familiar with Gulley? Can you see him breaking through like Juan Agudelo did with New York?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Yes, the Fire has a club in MS that is sending players to Chicago. I see that Gulley and two other kids from MS are playing in this weeks Generation Adidas tourney in Dallas with Fire. CONGRATS to Gulley!

  2. I have played with and against Kellen Gulley. He is by far one of the most skilled players in Mississippi and the nation at his age. Kellen has always been a danger for any team he plays against and a major asset for whoever he plays for. I feel that he could be successful in the wings of a midfield as well as up top in the striker position. This may be a minor stepping stone and we might find him playing in Europe. Fire has made a great signing.

  3. If the Fire’s, and any other teams, ownership is willing to invest the money to develop academies in additional regions (which expands the leagues brand to areas that don’t have their own team) then they are more likely to become stronger squad over the long term. It shows a real commitment to becoming a top shelf organization.

  4. The double-slash, shaved eyebrow is part of the initiation rites to join the global soccer speedsters fraternity. Currently Aaron Lennon is the Grand Master.

  5. He played for the fire academy team based out of Mississippi. He was developed in teh Chicago fire youth system. He is certainly a home grown player.

    Better to be thought of as stupid and keep your mouth shut, than to open it and remove all doubt.

  6. Sounds like a good prospect and it’s always good to see more academy players get signed professionally, but stop shaving your eyebrows kid. Whatever the two slashes means is either something you don’t have or something that will get you jailtime if you do have.

  7. There has always been a movement to Chicago from Mississippi (BLUES MUSIC).

    Mississippi > Memphis > St. Louis > Chicago

    I like it for Soccer too. Does Chicago have an academy in Mississippi?

  8. Each MLS team should send two academy players to MLS HQ annually, let’s call them “tributes.” There they will fight to the death in a televised show called the “Hunger Games.” 😉

    Has anyone else read that book–it’s awesome!

  9. I just think its funny hes claimed under “home grown”. should be called a youth discovery player if nothing else. He clearly wasnt “developed” by anyone with the Chicago Fire which is what I thought the home grown initiative was supposed to be used for.

    I do like the signing though. Just think it should go in a different category as the kids actually being groomed and developed by other MLS academies that are being signed as real home grown players.

  10. according to Brian Bliss the Crew technical director the way it works with MLS Academies is that each team has a home territory … usually 75 mile radius or in the case of a sparsely populated area maybe a whole state or two … what each is exactly for each team is anybodies guess but each team has a “Home Territory”.

    Kids from a team’s Home Territory cannot be a part of another MLS team’s youth academy or qualify as homegrown players or be signed unless compensation is agreed to (as is the case with Vancouver getting rights Aleman as part of a trade with TFC or Colorado having to compensate TFC for Janniere).

    but teams can also apply for and be assigned “Satellite Territories” where the league grants them exclusive access to some territory outside their home territory … like RSL-AZ or Chicago Fire-MS. kids out of those satellite territories that meet the homegrown requirements (still very much a cloudy mystery by the clandestine MLS) then they can be signed as well.

    i also guess that with the advent of residential academies these satellite territories will most likely be exclusive, meaning one residential academy cannot sign up a player from some other MLS teams satellite territory (just like they couldn’t sign up a player from that team’s Home Territory).

    and i also assume there is much of the nation that is simply free game at this point and kids from those as yet unspecified areas can be part of any team’s youth academy if they can convince the parents to move or if that team has a residential academy.

  11. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but some of the best and most exciting news to me pertaining to MLS is homegrown players signed. To me it really shows how far the league has come and its always nice to have young players signed professional. Hopefully this kid turns out to be a Agudelo/Najar type, it’ll be nice to see how he ends up.

  12. I remember seeing him on TV pre-injury – Concacaf qualifying maybe – looked very good. Don’t know if he can have an Agudelo/Najar type early impact but he looked like he might have more to offer, and more quickly, than Jack Mc for Philly, for example.

  13. If they can use players from their academy is Mississippi and RSL and use players from their academy in Arizona… then I don’t know.

  14. I have a former u-17 player on my high school team and he said that Kellen Gulley was by far the best player on the team. Good signing!

  15. The Fire has a Youth team in Jackson, Mississippi, so I’m assuming he played for that team. So, yeah they can claim him.

    The Fire has youth teams in Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and who knows where else.

    I know other teams are in a similar boat when it comes to teams throughout the country.


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