Fire fans are anxiously awaiting incoming players this offseason, but first another player has departed the club.
Patrick Nyarko was traded to D.C. United for a second round pick, it was announced on Wednesday.
The pick the Fire acquired is the 13th pick in the second round, 33rd overall. The Fire’s natural second round pick was traded to Orlando for Eric Gehrig last offseason.
The 29-year-old midfielder was the longest serving active member of the club after making 221 appearances for the Fire since being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He is seventh on the club’s all-time appearance list. He tallied 23 goals and 41 assists in his Fire career.
Nyarko posted a letter to Fire fans on twitter and on the Fire’s website thanking fans and the club for his time in Chicago.
“No amount of words can describe my appreciation to you,” Nyarko said in the letter. “You have given a little kid from a small town in Ghana the opportunity to realize his dream of playing the game he has loved his entire life. For the past eight years I have been living this dream, but unfortunately that time has come to a halt. I have always embraced challenges.
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“At this particular point in my career these challenges take me to another city, and another club. I take consolation knowing that I call Chicago home and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I will forever cherish the experiences and memories that I have accumulated during my time here.”
This past season Nyarko made 19 appearances in MLS play, 14 of which were starts, scored three goals and had four assists. He also scored and had an assist in the U.S. Open Cup. Nyarko made his 2015 debut on June 30 in the U.S. Open Cup after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 2014.
Nyarko gets to return to the D.C. area after playing collegiately at Virginia Tech for three years.
The Fire now are down to 14 players under contract, and that includes rookie homegrown signings Joey Calistri and Drew Conner and second-year players Patrick Doody, Collin Fernandez and Kingsley Bryce, who combined for eight appearances last year. Nyarko’s departure means that Eric Gehrig, at 28 years old, is now the oldest player on the team. Only Sean Johnson and Harry Shipp have been on the Fire since 2014 and only Johnson since 2013.