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Fire’s Marco Pappa leaving Jan. 1 for Dutch league team

Chicago White Sox Vs ClevelIndians. 'Game Face' Marco PappChicago Fire midfielder member Guatemalnational team reacts after throwing  out ceremonial

Chicago White Sox Vs Cleveland Indians. "Game Face" Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire midfielder and member of the Guatemala national team, reacts after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 15, 2012 6:19AM

There was never much of a question as to whether Fire outside midfielder Marco Pappa would sign with a team in Europe — simply speculation as to when.

It finally happened Monday, as the Fire announced that Pappa signed a pre-contract with Dutch Eredivisie team SC Heerenveen.

Players whose contracts expire within six months are allowed to negotiate and sign pre-contracts with other teams. Pappa’s contract with the Fire ends Dec. 31. He will join his new team Jan. 1 when the transfer window opens.

The Fire, however, maintains his Major League Soccer rights, meaning if he decides to return to MLS, he’d have to play for the Fire.

Pappa has been the Fire’s best player this season, leading the team with six goals and ranking third with four assists. His 68 shots are 22 better than Dominic Oduro, who ranks second on the team in that category.

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