This Naperville native now tends goal for the Chicago Fire
When he was 4 years old, Chris Brady’s parents signed him up for soccer through the Naperville Park District. It stuck. Then came the Roadrunners Soccer Club and the Chicago Fire Academy. What started out as an activity to keep an energetic kid busy has evolved into a career as professional athlete. Brady, now 19, made his MLS debut last fall as goalkeeper for the Fire. His stellar stats in the net already have prompted the club to extend his contract through 2027.
Q: How did being raised in Naperville influence you?
A: Growing up in Naperville always meant that there were opportunities to try new things, whether it be clubs or teams or groups—there was always something to do. Having that freedom really allowed me to take it upon myself to see what I was good at. All the friends I’ve come to know over the years as well helped me thrive because anyone can thrive with a good support system. I also think being able to wander and explore and make the mistakes every kid makes in a safe and comforting environment like Naperville helped build my character quite a bit.
Q: What do you enjoy about playing for the Fire?
A: I love the character development that I’ve gone through over the last few years—I have my coaches and teammates to thank for that. I also love the experience I’m gaining from playing my sport at such a high level. I love how my family and friends are all here and able to watch and experience the start of my career here in Chicago.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge of playing pro soccer?
A: Having to compete every day with guys who are much older or much more experienced than me.
Q: Any advice for kids who dream of becoming collegiate or professional athletes one day?
A: It is possible as long as you’re willing to put in the work, and the benefits of coming from an athlete background are immense.
Photos: Chicago Fire FC