CHICAGO – The changing of ownership, logo, colors, jerseys, and the move to Soldier Field signaled a true fresh start for the franchise in 2020.
Naturally, the product on the field for Chicago Fire FC had gone through some wholesale changes as well, with head coach Veljko Paunovic departing along with his staff as well as major contributor Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic.
A new coach for a new era in Chicago.
Welcome, Raphael Wicky.https://t.co/vmlbEu8GJV
— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) December 27, 2019
After hiring sporting director Georg Heitz on December 20th, the franchise hired Raphael Wicky to be their ninth head coach in franchise history, coming over from the US National U-17 team. He’ll be the one to try and bring consistency to the franchise which has made the playoffs once since the start of the 2013 season.
But as Wicky starts his tenure with the franchise in a year where the look and the home pitch of the team have changed, there will be one man who will be a throwback to the team’s proud past who will help him along the way.
Fire in his heart. Chicago in his soul.
Welcome, Frank Klopas.
— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) January 14, 2020
Frank Klopas, who first was a player with the team in 1998 and served in a variety of roles since was named an assistant coach under Wicky for the upcoming 2020 seasons. He played for the Fire for two years and in 1998 helped the team to their only MLS Cup championship, and after the 1999 season became an assistant coach for the club for one year.
Klopas was the team’s technical director from 2008-2011 before being named the head coach of the team in May of 2011. He led the team to the MLS Playoffs in 2012 but stepped down at the end of the 2013 season and took the head coaching job with the Montreal Impact, where he was till being let go in August of 2015.
He’s also been a team ambassador as well as an announcer for the club, but now he’ll get to make an impact on the field once again as the Fire transition to a new era.