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Hauptman: Time for new Fire leadership
October 30th, 2013 10:28PM

TAGS:  chicago fire, mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Fire owner Andrew Hauptman certainly made a statement about how he views the situation in Chicago when both head coach Frank Klopas and club president Javier Leon -- both fixtures with the Fire -- departed on Wednesday. It was reported by later in the day that Frank Yallop, linked with the Vancouver job that became vacant on Tuesday, would replace Klopas as head coach.

“There have been many highlights over these years but now is the appropriate time to make a transition to new leadership,” Hauptman said in a statement. “Making this team compete for championships on a consistent basis is our first priority.”

Klopas, a Chicago prep star and former U.S. international, played for the Fire and was its technical director for three and a half seasons before replacing Mexican Carlos de los Cobos as coach in 2011.

The Fire was rebuilt in the second half of the 2012 season and reached the playoffs with a 17-11-6 record, but it never recovered from a 2-7-2 start. It won three straight matches to put it within a point of returning to the playoffs, but it dropped a 5-2 decision at New York on Sunday.

Leon, the executive who oversaw the launch of Chivas USA, left in 2007 and joined Andell Sports Group, which oversees the sports and related assets for Hauptman's Andell Holdings, as managing director the next year.

The Fire has been one of the most active teams on the international transfer market. It brought in Uruguayan Federico Puppo and Dutchman Sherjill MacDonald as Designated Players in 2012 though neither player is still with the team. Ecuadoran Juan Luis Anangono and Uruguayan Arevalo Rios arrived as DPs this summer, but neither made a big impact.

The Fire did pull off one of the best trades in MLS history when it traded the rights to Robbie Rogers to the LA Galaxy for Mike Magee, who finished the 2013 season with 21 goals and is an MLS MVP candidate.

Chicago Fire Coaches:
Bob Bradley (1998–02)
Dave Sarachan (2002-7)
Juan Carlos Osorio (2007)
Denis Hamlett (2008-09)
Carlos de los Cobos (2010-11)
Frank Klopas (2011-13)

1 comment
  1. Roger Sokol
    commented on: November 1, 2013 at 5:57 a.m.
    Sorry, but Arevalo Rios did have a big impact on the Fire's near playoff making run (12-6-5). Playing a defensive mid role meant he may not have been as visible as goal scorers, but he made valuable contributions to stopping the opponents and pushing counters forward. Juan Luis Anangono is more problematic. He seemed decent in his role as a target forward, but had some touch problems around the goal. I'm probably most sorry to see Chicago soccer icon Frankie Klopas go. He was the Fire's direct link to Chicago's soccer history. He led his high school to the city championship and into the state tournament. (They were eliminated early.) The legend is, that as a result, the Chicago Sting (NASL) invited some of the high school players to scrimmage with team as it was preparing for indoor soccer. Allegedly Frankie scored several goals and impressed the Sting enough to sign him as an 18 YO. He was on the 1984 Sting NASL Championship team, but never played because of a broken leg in preseason. He did star for the Sting in several subsequent seasons in the MISL, then went to play in Greece. He came back to the Fire in their inaugural season and ended up scoring the golden goal in overtime to win the US Open Cup a week after they won MLS Cup. So although getting fired goes with being a coach. It's still a loss.

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