by Tessa Martyn
For three seasons, Barker has been one of the most productive receivers in the AUDL. He is a key element in the success of the Chicago Union due to his intensity, competitive spirit, and knack for firing people up. This upcoming season, Barker's goal of bringing a championship home to Chicago has not changed.
Barker emphasizes how crucial it is to bring varying qualities to the team as a leader. “They have to care a lot about the team, meaning they show up to everything and be ready to put in a lot of work to make sure the ship sails the direction the team wants it to. Most importantly, a good leader recognizes the need to earn the respect of their teammates/peers/coaches every single day,” said Barker.
Janas, who captained the Wildfire in 2018 and 2019 added, “A captain has to be someone who conducts himself in a professional manner on and off the field. A good leader should exemplify how to prepare like a professional athlete.”
This will be Shanahan’s third season playing for the Chicago Union but first season captaining for the team. He has combined for 41 goals and 35 assists in 19 games. “It’s a huge honor especially coming off the season we had in 2021, it means a lot that my teammates believe in me and think I can help build on the excellent work of last season’s leadership,” said Shanahan, when asked what it means to be captain for the Chicago Union. Shanahan concluded the 2021 regular season with a total of 14 goals, 13 assists, 3 blocks, and a 93.63 percent completion. The Chicago Union’s 2021 season was one of the best the organization has seen. The team finished 11-2, which is the best regular season record since its inception as the Chicago Wildfire. Additionally, the Union claimed their first ever postseason win in franchise history.
“The captains in 2021 laid the groundwork for what we hope to continue to build on going into the 2022 season. I’m excited to help build on a culture that was already so sound. Very excited for Union 2022,” said Shanahan.
The Chicago Union are looking forward to the upcoming 2022 season with these players as part of their leadership team.
“Being a captain takes a ton of time and organization. These guys have all shown they have what it takes to prepare and lead both on and off the field. I’m looking forward to seeing the team rally behind them and build on the momentum we started last season,” said CJ O’Brien, Chicago Union Owner.
The Chicago Union is hosting open tryouts on February 26th at Lane Tech College Prep High School. Athletes from all backgrounds are invited to register and try out for a chance to to play for the Chicago Union for the upcoming season.
For more opportunities to showcase your skills, the team will be hosting their first-ever indoor open 5v5 tournament on January 22, 2022 at CIBC Fire Pitch in Chicago. More information on this tournament is available here.
The official Chicago Union game schedule for the 2022 season has not been finalized yet. Union Season Tickets can be purchased through the team’s website, and individual game tickets will be added once the home game schedule is announced.