ORLANDO – For the second time in three seasons, a look at their roster will show a number of major changes in hopes of finding the right fit for the club.
Like in the winter of 2020, Chicago Fire FC has a new manager, many new players, and even a new crest as they approach the 2022 season. The goal remains the same, however: Finding a way to return to the top of Major League Soccer, where the club hasn’t been now for a decade.
The path for new manager Ezra Hendrickson to do so began on Tuesday as he ran the club through their first training camp practice in Orlando. It’s part of a two-stop preseason tour for the club as they will also spend part of their time in Austin, Texas.
They’ll also have four preseason games – one in Florida and three in Texas – with their first being January 29th against Minnesota United FC in Orlando. The club will be there until February 3rd and then start training in Austin on February 6-19, leaving a week before their season opener on the road against Inter Miami CF on February 26th.
Until then, there is plenty of “getting to know you” for the players and Hendrickson, who is leading an MLS club for the first time in his coaching career. At least a lot of the roster will be new as well as the club parted ways with a host of players at the end of the playoff-less 2021 season.
There are a few returners, including Jonathan Bornstein, whom Hendrickson singled out during his introductory news conference when discussing the need for leadership on the club. It’s a role that the defender embraces as he enters his fourth year with the club.
“I feel extremely blessed. At 37, still being able to compete with these guys. It’s exactly where I want to be,” said Bornstein. “I want to be the guy on the team who can be the example, use my experience to help the younger guys build their careers and hopefully have good careers throughout their time.
“I’m just happy to be out here, I’m happy to be playing, and let’s see how long I can continue this.”