Fuderer signs MLS Next Pro contract with hometown club Chicago Fire FC II


Patrick Sloan-Turner

Jake Fuderer scored 13 career goals and tallied 41 points during his time at DePaul. In 2022, the left back led his team in goals scored.

Former DePaul star Jake Fuderer didn’t have to go far to find himself a professional contract. Last week, Fuderer signed with Major League Soccer (MLS) Next Pro squad, Chicago Fire FC II, as announced by the team on Wednesday. 

Through five seasons, Fuderer scored 13 goals for the Blue Demons, playing at a variety of spots on the pitch for head coach Mark Plotkin. He starred in his final season at left back with DePaul in 2022, leading the team in goals and was named to the All-Big East third team. 

“He’s the type of player that rises to the level he is playing at and knows he has what it takes to succeed at the professional level,” Plotkin said. “I can’t wait to see him thrive in the professional environment.”

With a hometown of Glenview, IL – roughly 30 miles away from the Fire’s current facility at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview – Fuderer will train and play for his hometown club.

“His goal was always to become a professional soccer player and to be able to sign with your hometown club is pretty special,” Plotkin said. “The Fire have always focused on having Chicago area guys involved in the team, and Jake is an example of that. He was able to train with them last winter thanks to our proximity to the club and impressed the staff… We’re thrilled for him.”

Fuderer is the first DePaul player to sign a professional contract since goalkeeper Brian Schwake joined Scottish Premiership club, Livingston FC, in 2020.

In signing a pro contract, Fuderer feels satisfied in reaching a goal as he has dreamed of playing professionally ever since he started playing soccer. The former DePaul free kick specialist said staying in Chicago and playing for his hometown squad was icing on the cake. 

“To stay home close to my family and represent the city I grew up playing in means the world to me,” Fuderer said. “Would not have wanted it to work out any other way.”

Fuderer said the team invited him for a trial role with the team on Jan. 15 and spent the past month training with the club before the Fire offered him a contract.

In a statement released by the club on Wednesday, Chicago Fire FC II head coach Ludovic Taillandier spoke to Fuderer’s potential as a future MLS player as well as the type of role the team sees for him on the pitch as a professional.

“Jake is a player who we feel can definitely reach the next step,” Taillandier said in Wednesday’s statement. “He plays mainly at left back but can play any number of positions. He puts his head down and works hard, setting a good example on and off the field for the younger players.”

Now that he’s reached the professional level and will train and compete on the Fire FC II – which serves as a reserve squad for the Chicago Fire’s first team – Fuderer has set new goals for himself.

In the short term, Fuderer said he’s focused on securing regular playing time, making consistent contributions for his current squad, but has his sights set on attending preseason training with the Fire’s first team next season.

Though he’s focused on making the most of what lies in front of him as a professional player, Fuderer won’t stray too far from his roots, especially since he will continue his development so close to home. The three-time All-Big East star said he’s likely to return to Wish Field and catch a DePaul match from the sidelines next season. 

“I’m going to make it [back] for a few games without a doubt,” Fuderer said.