The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today the team has signed German defender Arne Friedrich. The 32-year-old will be added to the Fire roster upon the receipt of his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Arne is a talented defender that brings strength, experience and depth to our backline,” said Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “His international credentials and track record in the German Bundesliga give our young players another great professional example to learn from.”
Hailing from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, Friedrich has represented the German national team 82 times since his first appearance in 2002. During that time, the 6-1 defender has compiled an impressive international resume, playing 13 of a possible 14 games while helping Die Mannschaft to matching third place finishes at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. It was in the latter tournament that he scored, tallying in the 74th minute of Germany’s 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Argentina July 3, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The renowned defender also represented Germany at the 2004 and 2008 UEFA European championships. In 2008, Friedrich appeared in four matches, helping his country to a runner-up finish. Capable of playing centrally or on the right side of the backline, Friedrich helped his national side to a third-place finish at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany.
“I’m excited to take the next step in my career with the Chicago Fire,” said Friedrich. “After playing my entire professional career in Germany, coming to the United States was an intriguing prospect and I’m looking forward to joining the club and playing in Major League Soccer.”
Friedrich began his professional career with German Regionalliga side SC Verl, where he appeared in 31 matches from 1999-2000 before transferring to 2. Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefield the following season. Friedrich helped Die Blauen’s promotion push to the Bundesliga during the first part of the 2001-02 season before transferring to Hertha Berlin that January.
It was in the German capital where Friedrich made his biggest mark, going on to tally 231 league appearances and 14 goals from 2002-10. Prior to the 2002-03 Bundesliga campaign, Friedrich helped the club to the preseason DFB Ligapokal. During the 2004-05 campaign, he was named club captain, a role he held throughout the remainder of his tenure with Die Alte Dame.
Following Hertha’s relegation after the 2009-10 season, Friedrich transferred to VfL Wolfsburg where he appeared in 15 matches from 2010-11.