Windy City FC
Thiago Callejon Sr. Manager of the Chicago Fire
The alarm clock rings and I look over at it: 10:22am, January 14, 2016 . I pull the covers off my body. Getting up slowly I walk to the bathroom and brush my teeth. Today is draft day. My most stressful day of the year. Managing the players that join the Chicago Fire soccer club. I go downstairs to the kitchen where my son has started cooking breakfast. “Good morning Dad” Thiago jr. says in a joyful way.
“Good morning son” I say back to him. The morning sunlight shines onto the countertops. I grab a piece of bacon from the plate Thiago has set on the counter. He walks to the stove and turns it on before adding the eggs. I grab two more pieces of bacon before heading upstairs again. I put my team jacket on and grab my bag from the chair. I walk to my daughters bedroom.
“Rey you awake?” I say softly with the door cracked.
“Dad I am trying to sleep,” she says quietly and with a tired voice.
“I will see you tonight when I get home” I say. She rolls over and continues to sleep. I walk down the stairs and back into the kitchen. Thiago has finished preparing breakfast. “Where is Riley?” Thiago jr asks.
“Rey is still sleeping.”
“Aw I made extra waffles just for her,” Thiago says in a sad voice.
“It’s okay she can heat them up later, Anyways I have to get to the stadium. I will be home around eleven.” I walk out the door and across the grass towards the garage. I put the code in and it opens. I walk around the Forerunner and unlock the Audi A4. I slowly manage to get the door open in the tight space.
I drive down the long roads leading onto the Chicago athletic campus. I open the window to feel the air. The air feels nice on my face but it starts to feel worse after the wind picks up, I put the window up. I turn on the radio and listen to the reporters talk about the draft.
“Today is the day of the 2016 Major league soccer draft.”
“The Portland Timbers have the first pick of the first round.”
“ The Philadelphia Union have second pick, D.C. United will take third pick.”
“ Tony king from the University of Clemson is one of the best strikers in the draft. Most likely to be picked by the Chicago Fire.”
“Oregon ducks right back Matty Crezmen has the best statistics for a defender in the nation.”
I turn into the Chicago Fire practice field building and managers offices and get out of the car closing the door before walking into the building.
“Good morning Mr. Callejon,” the worker at the front desk says
“Good mor….” I can’t finish my sentence before Jeremy the assistant manager walks up to me waving papers in my face.
“Jeremy we can’t waste time, it’s going to be a long day,” I say in remark to his paper waving. We walk up the stairs towards our big office. Lots of our crew members are working in their offices.
“ Who is our top pick?” I ask
“We are mostly aiming to get Tony King from Clemson but only if United, the Union or the Timbers don’t get him first. I walk into my office and set my coat on the chair. I reorganize my paper on my desk and open the window to get some fresh air. The air outside is warm and the shines brightly through the clouds. “Matthew!” I shout out the door of my room.
“Yes Mr. Callejon,” he says from the doorway.
“I need a glass of water”
Matthew disappears from the doorway and returns a short while later with a cup.
“Thank you, Oh can you also get coach Trek from his office” I say before I take a sip from the cup.
Matthew exits the room and goes down the hallway. Coach Trek shows up seven minutes later.
“Mr.Callejon, good to see you!” he says with enthusiasm.
“Glad to see you too coach,” I respond With a smile.
“I see you have worked on your office,” he says looking around the room.
“Looks nice,” he says.
“alright we need to talk about your starters and what positions you need,” I say
“Well, Trevor Igles the only center midfielder is out with an injured ankle. Derrick Fri the left midfielder has a broken leg. Andre Desmo, the starting center back has a broken arm and Robert Brand our second best striker is out of the next game due to a red card in the last game against Real Salt Lake,” he says.
“Alright thank you, I will take that information into consideration for the picks.”
Coach Trek gets out of his chair and leaves the room. I get up and and check the clock.
I grab my coat from the chair and go down to the parking lot. I unlock the door to my car and drive out of the parking lot. I drive downtown past Willis Tower and over the Chicago river. I park my car along the road and run into the most convenient fast food restaurant; Subway. I order a sandwich without thinking much about it. I get back to the car and start driving back towards the office complex. I look up and see a flock of birds flying. There is a tiny bit of snow on the ground but barely any. I watch as a speeding car races past me in the other direction followed by two police cars.
I park the car near the little pond and walk back to the building with my sandwich. I get to my office and put my keys in my coat pocket, setting them both down on one of the tables. I unwrap the sandwich from its packaging and take a bite. Matthew comes in out of breath. “Mr. Callejon the New York Red Bulls are on line 2,” He says.
I pick up the phone.
“Mr. Alcantra, Good to hear from you my friend,” I say
“ Yes it is,” he responds
“So you want to talk soccer I presume,” I say
“Yes I would like to trade for the number four pick,” he says
“ Alright what do you have to offer?” I ask
“ Center back Ashton norris, left midfielder Will Minter, goalkeeper Javier Besma and the number ninth pick in the first round.”
“ I will consider it, and I’ll get back to you during the draft.”
I hang up the phone and continue eating my sandwich until it’s all gone. Matthew comes back in
“What is it now?” I ask in an angry tone
“Oh sorry sir, I disturbed you during your lunch,” he says
“It’s alright Matthew, thank you, I say in response.
The phone rings and I pick it up.
“Hello Thiago Callejon Sr, this is Graham Winter Sr. of the Colorado Rapids” Graham says
“Calling to make an offer Graham?” I ask.
“Yes I am, I’d like to trade for the number 4 pick,” he says. “What do you want for it?”
he then asks.
“Hold I need to switch phones,” I say setting down the phone. I jog down to the draft
room where most of the crew is rushing around.
“Everyone! Everyone! please be quiet!” I yell. Everyone in the room is silent and frozen
for a moment. I walk over pick up the phone and press the speaker button.
“Graham Winter Sr. can you hear us?” I ask hoping he can.
“I can hear you Thiago,” he says in response.
“ We would like to take your number one picks for the next two years and we need a
center midfielder,” I say in sort of a demanding voice.
“ What!” He shouts over the phone “Are you kidding me?” He asks
“ We could ask for the next three years and a center midfielder if you would rather do
that?” I ask him in a sarcastic voice.
“Hold on moment and we are not gonna give you this teams picks for the next three years,” He shouts again.
“ Come on Mr. Winter we don’t have all day!” I shout back
“ How about center midfielder Brian Rhodes and our number two picks?” He says in a much calmer hesitating voice.
“Brian Rhodes and the ninth pick this year of the first round and you're next year number one pick, How about that?” I ask
“Alright, Alright and we get the number four pick correct?”
“Yes Mr. Winter you get the fourth pick,” I say. I hang up the phone and look around the room at everyone who is astonished on what I have done. They all cheer and I walk out. Matthew is waiting outside in the hallway as soon as I walk out of the room, and follows me to my office.
I walk into my office and go over to my desk. I sit down in my chair and look out the large window at the practice field. It is sunny outside and there are a few birds in flying. I turn my chair around and grab a piece of paper and a pen. I write a few words on it and put it in my pocket. I move down past the organizing room and down the steps I walk past the main desk and into the club’s workout room. “ Mr. Callejon Sr. how good it is to see you,” a familiar voice says.
“Ah, Coach Pine, It’s been awhile hasn’t it?” I say
“Yes it has” he says in response.
He gives me a handshake and he goes into his office. I walk out the back door and onto the practice field. I sit down on a bench and look up at the sky. There is a long moment of silence for me until Matthew comes running out. Alec Matio of the Los Angeles Galaxy Would like to speak with you. I take my cell phone out of my pocket and call him.
“How is my favorite manager in Chicago?” he asks
“Doing alright, how are you?” I say back
“Little stressful today, but we are ready to draft some great players,” He says sounding excited
“Alright Alec, call to make a trade?” I ask
“I sure did”
“what do you want?”
“I want the fourth pick,” he says in sort of a more demanding voice
“I am sorry Alec I already gave that one away”
“Alright how about we take your left back Cam Wallace off your hands, he mostly sits on the bench anyways,” He says sounding angrier every time he speaks.
“ If we can have the eleventh pick of the first round,” I say
“I need to make this quick let me talk to my staff,” he says putting the phone on hold. After about a minute of waiting he returns.
“It’s a deal, Cam Wallace for the eleventh pick”
“Great” I say hanging up the phone. I walk inside and go up the long flights of stairs until I reach the draft room.
“We just traded Cam Wallace for the eleventh pick” I say looking around the room.
“Good trade,” One of the crew members says.
I walk out of the room and down to my office and sit down in my chair. I take the note out of my pocket and place it on the counter and then get up and straighten my shirt before walking back to the draft room. I walk in the room and hear everyone shouting and having conversations.
“Will everyone please be quiet!” I shout hoping everyone can hear me. Everyone is completely silent. I look out the window to see a parade going down the road.
“We ready to begin?” I ask
“Yes we are,” Matthew says. The clock reads 7:00pm.
“We bring you live to the 2016 MLS draft I am Wilson Holiday here with Kevin lively,” he says
“Today is a remarkable day when we can bring all the college soccer players into Major League Soccer,” Kevin says
“Alright and to start the 2016 draft the Portland Timbers are on the clock,” Wilson
“Here is the commissioner presenting the first pick”
“The Portland Timbers have the first pick and they select Damon Fisher of LSU,” The commissioner says. I need someone paying close attention to who the other teams pick. Matthew leaves the room and heads down towards my office. He stops at the entrance and walks in. He walks around the room before looking at the counter.
Matthew picks up the note I had placed on the counter in my office and reads it out loud. “Drew Santos one hundred percent,” He reads. Nobody else is in the room when he says it but he rushes to the drafting room to watch what happens right when the Philadelphia Union start the second pick and are on the clock.
“Here is the commissioner again with the second pick by Philadelphia,” Wilson Holiday says on the television.
“The Philadelphia Union select Anthony benjamin from the university of Alabama,” The commissioner says announcing the second pick. The next seven teams pick their players and none are any that we have our eyes on.
“The Chicago Fire have the ninth pick and are now on the clock,” the commissioner says before walking off the stage.
“Matty Crezmen and Tony King are still in the draft,” I hear lots of people shouting. I take my cell phone out of my pocket and call in the pick. Most people are shouting and it is very loud in the room. I notice Matthew standing in the doorway again.
“The pick is in and here is the commissioner,” says Kevin Lively
“The Chicago Fire have selected from the university of Iowa State striker Drew Santos”
Everyone in the room is silent for a moment before exploding into shouting again. I walk out of the room and down to my office again. I sit down in my chair and my phone starts ringing.
“Mr. Alcantra, How’s it going?” I ask him
“Alright a little surprised that you didn’t pick Tony King, What’s wrong with him?”
“Nothing that I have heard or observed, Just wanted Drew Santos more,” I respond to him.
“ You have the eleventh pick don’t you?” he asks
“Yes we do,” I say
“How about we trade our twelfth pick and our previous trade of Norris, Minter and Besma?” He asks me. I take a moment to think about it.
“Deal,” I say hanging up and putting my phone back in my pocket.
“Where have you been Thiago?” someone asks
“Dallas just selected Sean Rice from Kentucky,” A different voice tells me.
“We just traded our eleventh pick for the Red Bulls twelfth pick and we got our center back and left midfielder we needed, oh and plus we got and extra goalkeeper,” I say
“Who are we going to take?” Jeremy asks
“We are going to take Crezmen,” I say in a hopeful way. I look at the television and see the commissioner walking to the podium.
“The Chicago Fire has traded the eleventh pick to the New York Red Bulls and they have selected Tony King from the university of Clemson,” the commissioner says
“Looks like we are on the clock,” Jeremy says. Most people are quiet this time as I can in our final pick.
12:00 pm After the draft
I walk down the long flight of stairs towards the front doors. I feel the air on my face as I walk towards my car. There is music and shouts coming from inside the complex. I drive out of the parking lot and towards home with a good feeling that maybe this year we will win the MLS Cup.