Mike Magee was born and raised in Chicago but spent almost half his life as a professional soccer player outside of the Windy City.
And now that he's back, the Chicago Fire forward is making the most of his lost time by sparking the streaking Fire as the season heads down the home stretch.
"The transition's been by far the easiest thing I've had to do in my career," said Magee, who was traded at the end of May for Robbie Rogers. "I come home and I'm still trying to make up for lost time...all the stuff I've been missing, and it just feels right."
From 2003 to 2009 the Chicago native played with the New York Red Bulls -- then the MetroStars, who drafted him fourth overall. In 2009 he was traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy for a second-round pick. In L.A., marking his next big move. But even before that, Magee trained with the U.S. Soccer Youth Development squad at the IMG Academy in Florida.
It left the youngster Magee homesick, but his family support back in Chicago helped him push along. At the same time, his soccer prowess was improving, too.
Now he's back home, tied for the league lead in goals and pushing the Fire up in the standings.
Before Magee showed up the Fire had lost seven of 10 games to start the season. Since then, Magee's five goals and two assists have helped the Fire to a near-perfect record, creating buzz in the city that just celebrated the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
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After so much time away from the city "Magic Mike" calls home, those same people who supported him during his time away are embracing him now that he's back.
"This city means a lot to me and I've been so biased to it even when I've been gone," he said. "I've already noticed a little bit more pride being here and knowing all my family's in the stands and all the people I love inm the world are watching me play and coming to the games. We're going in the right direction...this thing's only gonna get better."