With preseason training beginning on Monday, the Chicago Fire have continued filling out their roster.
The club announced that it has has re-signed midfielder Razvan Cocis and signed Portuguese center back João Meira.
Interestingly, in the Fire’s press release regarding the signings, Meira is listed as a defender/midfielder.
“From our initial planning, we wanted to have Razvan back and are glad that we could finalize his return,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said in the release. “João is an excellent complement to our existing group with experience as both a center back and, if needed, as a central midfielder.”
Meira, 28, joins the Men in Red from Primeira Liga side Belenenses. Meira helped the team earn promotion to the Primeira Liga, the top league in Portugal, in the 2012-13 season and played in the top league in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He made 27 appearances, all starts, in the 2013-14 season before seeing his playing time cut with 18 appearances, 16 of which were starts, last season while Belenenses finished sixth in the 20-team league.
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Meira was out of contract this season and last made an appearance as an 87th minute sub in Belenenses’ season finale on May 23. His last start came on April 18 and he was subbed out in the 81st minute. Meira’s last 90-minute performance came back on Feb. 14. The Fire have picked him up on a two-year contract.
Despite the lack of recent match time for Meira, the 6-foot center back still figures to fit right into the starting lineup. Eric Gehrig and rookie Jonathan Campbell are the only other true center backs on the Fire’s roster. Rodriguez has indicated that the Fire were going after three European center backs, one of which they had already agreed to terms with, which now appears to be Meira.
Cocis has been with the Fire since signing in July of 2014. He has scored two goals and had three assists in 36 regular season appearances.
Cocis holds a U.S. Green Card, which means he does not occupy an international roster spot. Meira makes three official international spots take on the Fire’s roster. Recent draft picks Vincent Mitchell and Vincent Keller would also take international spots if they make the team.
Cocis will be 33 before the March 6 season opener, which makes him the oldest player currently under contract with the Fire.