CHICAGO – Two things are apparent when it comes to the club’s offseason ahead of the 2022 season, and one of them was obvious before this week.
After deciding not to bring back a number of players from the 2021 team, it was apparent that Chicago Fire FC roster would look much different when they start play late this coming winter.
But judging by the comments of new manager Ezra Hendrickson during his introductory news conference Monday, another thing the club would prioritize in their roster construction would be leadership for what will be a young group.
Thursday’s move indicated the latter, as the club brought back one of their veterans for at least one more season.
On Thursday, the club announced that defender Jonathan Bornstein will return to the club for the 2022 season on a one-year contract. This will be his fourth with the Fire and one of the few holdovers from the previous ownership group on the roster.
“Jonny has proven to be a strong leader for the Club, on and off the field, and we’re pleased that he will be returning for another season,” said Sporting Director Georg Heitz in a statement through the team. “In addition to his leadership qualities, Jonny is a talented and experienced defender who will provide competition within the roster. We look to forward working with him again in 2022.”
Since joining the club in 2019, Bornstein has played in 61 matches with 49 starts, including 30 contests with 25 starts in the 2021 season. He’s been a steady leader for the club which has endured plenty of changes since he joined after spending the previous eight seasons playing internationally – seven in Mexico in Liga MX and one with Maccabi Netanya of the Israeli Premier League.
Bornstein previously played five years in MLS with Chivas USA from 2006-2010 and in that first year he was a teammate of Hendrickson. The new manager mentioned the defender by name when discussing the importance of leadership on the club.
“I think maybe that some leadership, some issues that might need fixing as far as in the locker room. But like I said, we are working right now currently to bring some guys in to help nurture these young players in, and then we have guys like (Jonathan) Bornstein here who are great leaders who we are going to look to to help bring along the young talent,” said Hendrickson.
Now the defender will get to do that in his fourth season with the club.