Forward Madison midfielder Michael Vang will train with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer during preseason, the clubs announced Sunday. Vang, 20, was the Flamingos’ top scorer in 2020, notching four goals in 13 games.
Vang also made history last year as the first-ever Hmong American to play professional soccer.
Vang’s addition to Chicago’s preseason roster comes as part of a partnership between the Flamingos and the Fire, which was announced in 2020 and will continue this year. Vang is still under contract with Forward Madison, having re-signed in November after a breakout campaign.
In an interview Sunday, Vang said he learned about the call-up shortly after the 2020 season ended, and has spent the winter training in the Twin Cities.
“I’ve been in the weight room more trying to get the physical part of my game up. Obviously, doing work on the field,” he said.
Vang said he feels prepared.
“I feel pretty confident. Obviously everyone gets those jitters, right when it’s about to come up. I got it today when I went into the locker room, I was like, ‘Oh,'” he said. “It’s just those normal jitters. But once you get going, you start talking to everyone, everything kind of goes away. And I think that this off-season I’ve really been preparing myself for it. I was just really putting in the work and the time leading up to this. So, I think I’m ready for it.”
Chicago’s preseason training begins today, and Vang will be there at least two weeks. “I hope it’s longer,” he said.
A handful of USL League One players have seen minutes with affiliated MLS clubs, so making the Fire roster wouldn’t preclude Vang from playing for Madison this summer.
Head coach Carl Craig, who is preparing for his first season in Madison, will also spend time in the Fire’s camp.
Vang is the second Forward Madison player to have practiced with Chicago, joining current Flamingos defender Christian Díaz, who trained with the Fire a year ago.
The Fire are set to kick off their season in early April, while Forward Madison will begin its preseason in late March ahead of a planned May 8 start date.