The Chicago Fire made it official Thursday that Mexican forward Nery Castillo is joining Greek club Aris. The loan is for five months -- not six, as was previously mentioned in various reports.
"This is a great opportunity for Nery to get consistent playing time on the field, and we look forward to monitoring his progress in the coming months," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said in a statement.
The Fire acquired Castillo on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk on July 17, 2010, and in eight games (six starts), he played in 487 minutes but did not contribute a goal or assist.
The addition of Castillo as a designated player was part of a midseason revamping of the Fire's 2010 roster that included the addition of designated player Freddie Ljungberg. Ljungberg signed with Celtic in December.
Castillo made his Fire debut as a second-half sub during a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 8 at Toyota Park. But Castillo's tenure was short-lived as fitness clearly was an issue on the pitch. From late September into early October, Castillo did not see playing time, and there were several instances where he was left off the active first-team roster.
Pantazopoulos wins tryout: Greek born and Mount Prospect High School graduate Paraskevas "Pari" Pantazopoulos was the winner of the Fire's open tryout, the team announced Wednesday. There were 210 athletes competing in the tryout, and Pantazopoulos was rewarded as the top player who will join the Fire for a week of training starting on Monday, Jan. 31.
"Playing professional soccer has always been a dream of mine," Pantazopoulos said. "I have been a supporter of the Fire since I moved to the United States in 1998. I am very thankful to the club for this opportunity."