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Grant Lillard signs homegrown contract with Chicago Fire

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Former IU men's soccer player Grant Lillard celebrates after the Hoosiers scored against the University of North Carolina during the NCAA semifinal game on Dec. 8 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. Lillard was one of three IU athletes to be named IU Athletes of the Year on Monday. Noble Guyon Buy Photos

Grant Lillard has signed a homegrown player contract with the Chicago Fire. The team made it official on Wednesday morning.

Lillard will be under contract for the 2018 season with club options for 2019 and 2020.

“It’s a dream come true to sign with my hometown club," Lillard said in a Chicago Fire release. "After moving here in high school, this is where I set as my goal to play. It’s an unbelievable experience to have it become a reality. “Even with the Academy, we always talked about what it means to represent the Chicago Fire and wear the badge. To be able to do it now at the senior level and in front of hometown fans is an unbelievable honor.”

A captain for the 2017 season for the Hoosiers, a MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and First Team All-Big Ten were just some of the many accolades accumulated by Lillard in his final year at IU.

Lillard anchored one of the best defenses in college soccer this past season, which had 18 shutouts and only conceded seven goals in total.

He also led the back line to the fourth-longest shutout streak in college soccer history with 966 minutes and 28 seconds.

Lillard also scored two goals and had two assists in 2017.

Lillard is the 10th player in Chicago Fire history to sign a homegrown contract and will report to the team for preseason training on Jan. 22.

“Grant was always highly regarded by the club and it’s nice to see that his progression under Todd Yeagley at Indiana University has allowed this signing,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez said. “He has obvious qualities and, with experience and refinement, has a chance to be a dominant player.”

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