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Chicago Fire Juniors soccer coach charged with sex abuse, soliciting players

Fernando Calderon | Chicago police

A coach with the Chicago Fire soccer team’s youth organization has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage player and soliciting sexual acts from two others.

Fernando Calderon, 49, of the Kelvyn Park neighborhood, faced felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child when he appeared at a bail hearing Saturday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, according to Cook County prosecutors.

The incidents allegedly occurred between July 2017 and August 2018 when the girls were between the ages of 14 and 17 and while Calderon was their coach, prosecutors said.

The girls were players with Chicago Fire Juniors City — the official youth soccer club of the Bridgeview-based Major League Soccer team, prosecutors said.

Paul Cadwell, president of Chicago Fire Juniors City, said Calderon was suspended immediately after the club became aware of the accusations and has since been dismissed.

“The welfare of our players is our primary concern and top priority,” Cadwell said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Calderon invited a 16-year-old player to his garage for a one-on-one training session last July and made sexual advances toward the girl and touched her.

During the session, Calderon allegedly told her that “she needed to get horny” and “get all of her hormones out” in order to improve her playing, prosecutors said.

The same month, Calderon asked another 16-year-old player about her sexual experiences during one-on-one training sessions, according to prosecutors. He later offered to massage her and showed her a video of a topless woman being massaged on his phone.

In a third incident during a team practice at Montrose Beach in July 2017, Calderon asked a 14-year-old girl about her sexual history and told her that having sex would make her a better soccer player, prosecutors said. After adding his number to her phone, Calderon invited her to train at his house and said she could change in front of him “if she was comfortable with that.”

A private defense attorney for Calderon said he had never been arrested before and has lived in the city for 30 years.

Judge Sophia Atcherson set Calderon’s bail at $30,000 and ordered him onto electronic monitoring if he posts bond. His next court hearing was set for Tuesday.

Cadwell said the soccer club “will reexamine our policies, practices and training to ensure we are fostering a positive and safe environment for every young player throughout our system.”