Fire sign midfielder De Lima

746062.png

Fire sign midfielder De Lima

Fire coach Frank Klopas liked what he saw of Alex Monteiro De Lima on a scouting trip to Europe last summer, and he also liked what he saw of De Lima in his clubs preseason training in Florida.

It took until Thursday, however, before the Fire could land the Brazilians services on loan from FC Wohlen, a second division club in Switzerland.

"We tried to get him (in January), so hed be with us from the beginning, said Klopas, "but he was an important part of his (Swiss) team and that club didnt want to lose a key player at a critical point in its season.

The Fire will get De Lima on June 27, when the international transfer window opens. Hell stay in Switzerland until Wohlens season is over, then can train with the Fire until hes eligible to play. His eligibility begins a month before Argentine midfielder Sebastian Grazzinis contract expires. He was signed to a one-contract in July, at the opening of the 2011 transfer window.

While theres no guarantee that Grazzini, 31, will move on, at least De Lima will be available as a fill-in. Like many Brazilian players, De Lima prefers to go by just his first name, "Alex" for soccer purposes.

"Its all about depth. Hes just a good, young striker or attacking mid(fielder), said Klopas, following Thursdays training session in Bridgeview. "Hell be a good addition. He has a lot of good qualities.

Unlike Grazzini last season, De Lima wont be a total newcomer to the Fire roster. Though he wasnt released from his Swiss contract, Wohlen did allow De Lima to train for two weeks with the Fire and he played in two preseason games.

"I had been in Europe to look at a couple players, and he was one of them," said Klopas. "He had a good chance to be in our environment, with our players in training."

The Fire hasnt had much luck with the few Brazilian players that have been good enough to make the roster. Rodrigo Faria was highly touted at the start of the 2003 season, but left after five games to tend to family matters and never returned. Thiago (full name Thiago De Rosa Correa) had nine goals and 10 assists spread over 67 matches and four playoff games from 2005-07. William Oliveira got into eight matches, four as a starter, in 2007 and scored a goal.

De Lima, 23, hopes to do more. He began his professional career with FC Gossau in the Swiss Challenge League, scoring two goals in 18 matches from 2009-10. The 5-8, 155-pound DeLima was then transferred to Wohlen, where he has seven goals in 44 appearances over the last two seasons.

"Im looking forward to joining the Chicago Fire," said De Lima, speaking through a translator in a statement released by the Fire. "I hope my skill and experience will help as the Fire pushes for a playoff spot...I am excited to rejoin Frank and the team in June.

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00pm. The show also live streams at csnchicago.com. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30am and 8:30am the following Saturday. This week, for the first time ever in our “Viewers’ Choice” poll, we will have girls basketball as our focus:

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:00pm

Glenbrook South at Maine South, 7:00pm

Vernon Hills at Maine West, 7:30pm

Poll opens Monday at 12:00pm and closes Thursday at 4:00pm. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

**Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.

**Note the “pinned Tweet” atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.

**Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4pm Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other basketball news, scores and highlights this season.

Big Ten poll update: No Northwestern yet, but Wisconsin moves into top 15

Big Ten poll update: No Northwestern yet, but Wisconsin moves into top 15

Northwestern will have to wait at least one more week to crack the top 25.

It sure looked like the Cats were going to move into the rankings after being on the cusp in both the AP and coaches polls a week ago. A win over Ohio State on Sunday was more good news on that front for Chris Collins' team. But Monday brought new polls, and neither had numbers in front of Northwestern's name. The Cat did receive votes in both polls and are the de facto No. 27 team in the coaches and the de facto No. 28 team in the AP.

As for Big Ten teams that are ranked, Wisconsin jumped up two spots in both polls, moving from No. 17 to No. 15. The Badgers pulled off entertaining wins against Michigan and Minnesota last week, defeating the rival Gophers on the road in overtime. Wisconsin is 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten with games this week against Penn State and Rutgers.

Purdue moved down one spot, from No. 20 to No. 21, in the AP poll but moved up two spots, from No. 22 to No. 20, in the coaches poll. The Boilermakers scored a pair of blowout wins over Illinois and Penn State, winning the two games by a combined 48 points. Purdue is 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten with games this week against Michigan State and Nebraska.

Maryland moved up in both polls, climbing from No. 25 to No. 22 in the AP and climbing from No. 25 to No. 23 in the coaches. The Terps edged Iowa in their lone game last week. Maryland is still flying under the radar despite having a stellar 17-2 overall record, with a 5-1 mark in the conference. This week brings matchups with Rutgers and Minnesota.

In addition to Northwestern, Indiana also received votes in the coaches poll.