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Stephens returns to MLS, signs with hometown Fire

MichaelStephensLAGalaxy2012 (Getty)


Michael Stephens has decided to end his European adventure after one season.

Stephens completed a move on Tuesday to sign with the Chicago Fire after spending the 2014 season playing for Bob Bradley with Stabaek in Norway. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a statement from Stabaek says that the club “facilitated” the move.

“It’s very exciting,” Stephens said in a statement. “I’ve been a fan of the club for a long time — since the inaugural season I’ve been following the team. To get this opportunity is something I didn’t think I could pass up. I had a good experience playing with the Fire PDL team, I have connections to the club and to the area so it seemed like a really good opportunity for me.”

The Naperville, Ill., native was a member of the U.S. Soccer residency program before matriculating to UCLA in 2006. Stephens was drafted in 2010 by the LA Galaxy and played 100 times for the club in MLS action, winning the MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012.

Stephens traveled to Norway on trial and signed last February with Stabaek, eventually making 33 starts in 34 games in all competitions, scoring one goal.

“Michael is an experienced player with four valuable seasons as a professional under his belt,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. “He’s a local product who is familiar with MLS and we’re glad to have him join our team.”

Stephens joins Designated Player Kennedy Igboananike and Joevin Jones as Fire signings this offseason.


What do you think of this signing? Do you see Stephens stepping into the starting lineup next season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. we’ll see if he fits the mold of American players that mature later and don’t really understand the games nuances until later and therefore peak a little later, for reasons that are quickly no longer going to exist btw, imo. can play different positions in the midfield

  2. Mikey is a fantastic player with great skill and field vision and a really good work ethic. The Fire is really fortunate to have him. A Galaxy fan and I sure wish he were back with us. Congrats on a great pickup for your team.

  3. I have no problem with this. The MLS SHOULD NOT be loosing players to Norway, Sweden, Denmark as long as we compensate them appropriately.

  4. Stephens for the Galaxy was somewhat frustrating. Is technically very sound but often very shy going forward and also has very little athleticism which hurts him on defense. He’s a solid player but I wouldn’t say he’s starting caliber. Then again I don’t really know that much about the Fire’s midfield so I don’t know. Either way, happy he’s back home and wish him the best.

  5. Stephens is all grit and determination but he is slow of foot and plays the ball backwards 80% of the time which drove me NUTS when he was on the field for the gals… Good luck to him nevertheless.

  6. Where’s the Galaxy’s compensation? He wasn’t sold to Stabaek and he didn’t have to go through the MLS Allocation rankings.

    I think lawyers need to get involved and block this move.

  7. Whoa!!!!! Here is the big splash we have been looking for?!?!? There had better be something on the horizon for the Fire. He is a nice player that would fit in a system with a solid #7, #9, and #10.
    We need help!!!!!!!

    • We also have something like 17 roster spots to fill…

      This is not our big signing, but still a solid signing. If you are holding your breath for a big named DP, you’ll be holding it for quite some time and many Fire signings in the future.

  8. Martha, Stephens has won two championships during the last two years he was in MLS. Which during the past sixteen years the Chicago Fire said never.

  9. Martha, you guys didn’t just pick up some unproven scrub, he’s a fantastic central midfielder who is an immediate upgrade from what the Fire has right now. He can control the pace of the game and does well breaking up attacks. He has decent passing range and speed but he makes up for that with a killer engine and a championship attitude.

  10. Fire add to their menagerie of mediocre to crapola players. Raiding the Norwegian leagues for players is a great way to win the MLS said No One Ever


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