Chicago Fire FC Acquires Belgian Forward Hugo Cuypers as Designated Player for Club-Record Fee

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February 6, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS)Chicago Fire FC News Release

CHICAGO – Chicago Fire FC today announced that it has acquired forward Hugo Cuypers (KAI-pers) as a Designated Player via transfer from Belgian first division side K.A.A Gent. The transfer marks the largest acquisition fee in Club history.

As part of the transfer agreement, Cuypers’ contract with the Fire will begin on Feb. 16 and will run through 2026 with an option for 2027. He will occupy an international spot on the Fire’s roster, pending a medical and receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Additionally, to celebrate the Club’s acquisition of Cuypers as a Designated Player, the Fire will offer discounted tickets starting at $9 for the team’s home opener against 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield winners, FC Cincinnati, at Soldier Field on Saturday, March 2. Tickets will be available for a limited time only, beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT today, and can be purchased.

“We’re thrilled to officially welcome Hugo Cuypers to the Club,” said Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz. “We have been very focused on acquiring a striker in the prime of their career with a proven track record of scoring goals in a very competitive league. Hugo has been one of the leading goal-scorers in the Belgian first division over the last few seasons, and despite receiving interest from other teams, he had a very strong desire to join the Fire and help us achieve our goal of becoming one of the top clubs in MLS. Additionally, this deal would not have been possible without the continued commitment from ownership to invest heavily throughout all areas of the Club. We are confident that Hugo will be a game-changing addition to our team, and we look forward to having him in Chicago for the start of the 2024 MLS season.”

Cuypers, 26, joins the Fire from the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium, where he spent the last three seasons. During that stretch, Cuypers was one of the most productive strikers in the league, notching 64 goals and 25 assists in 126 matches played across all competitions. In the 2022-23 campaign, Cuypers earned Jupiler Pro League Golden Boot honors after leading the league with 34 goals in 56 appearances across all competitions, including 20 goals in 33 league matches.

The striker also added seven goals in six Jupiler Pro League Playoffs contests and six goals in 11 UEFA Europa Conference League matches during the campaign. In his second season with Gent, Cuypers…

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