Updating the search for a new head coach

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It goes without saying that it's been a busy first three weeks of the offseason for Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas.

Parting ways with former head coach Denis Hamlett, seeing Chris Rolfe and Cuauhtemoc Blanco leave the team, and retaining Brian McBride, C.J. Brown and Marco Pappa for 2010 (and beyond in the case of Pappa) are only some of the moves that Klopas has made this offseason. But despite this litany of transactions, Klopas has yet to make his most important decision: hiring the club's next head coach.

But the lack of a hire doesn't mean that Klopas isn't progressing with his search. In fact, the truth is quite the contrary.

"It's moving along quite well actually," Klopas said. "I'm feeling pretty good about it. At this moment it's about [putting together] the list of candidates and... identifying a list of guys that we feel can lead this team going forward." Klopas, who declined to share any names that are currently on his "list," isn't confining his search to candidates with MLS experience.

"We're looking everywhere," he said. "You'd be surprised how many people are interested. It's just a matter of narrowing that list and making sure that the guys that walk in - no matter what experience they have - understand the expectations here."

Making sure that the next head coach understands those expectations - which are always lofty for the Fire - is something Klopas is placing paramount importance on.

"He has to know from an organizational standpoint what the goal is," Klopas said. "And that's obviously to win a championship. To win games but also to play good soccer on the field, that's the goal. So the coach that you bring in has to be able to put that plan together."

Though he wouldn't go as far as to say he wants a coach who employs an offensive style of play, Klopas did insinuate that he wants to see free flowing soccer played at Toyota Park next year.

"When you look at the best teams in the world they're teams that can be dynamic on the field, that can have good movement off the ball, that can go forward moving quickly," Klopas said. "And I feel that we do have a lot of talented players that can play like that."

Ideally, the Fire would like to have a coach in place by the start of the rookie combine on January 6th. However, Klopas is stressing that he'll take his time with the hire as to be sure that the next head coach is the absolute right man for the job.

"It would be great to be able to get this process done," he said. "But this is a very important decision so you don't want to rush into anything."

"You want to make sure you do your homework the right way and make the right decision so it's hard to put a timetable on it."

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  • Out of all the useless names I've heard so far domestic wise. Bu useless i mean Soehn, Armas, Marsch etc.. Another name should be in there.

    Eric Wynalda:
    He has international experience, MLS experience. He Knows how everything works. He's a fiery guy, and I feel that he wouldn't take any crap from anyone. I think he would laso play the best players. I would consider him to be like a Jason Kreis type coach, but he has a ton more experience in every aspect of what we need in a head coach. Not to mention he was a forward, and played in the world cup. Fiery smart offensive minded coaching wouldn't hurt.

    I think if we are not able to get a foreign or South american coach, Wynalda should be our man, call me crazy. Why not take a risk, the same risk that RSL took when they took a quality leader at the forward position, in Kreis, off the field and turned him into a coach. I think Wynalda is worth a shot.

  • In reply to jking:

    Wynalda is not just "fiery" he is a headcase. You can't compare Kries to Wynalda. Wynalda was never a leader on any team. If we want a "quality leader" than Armas is our guy. If were going to throw out names like Wynalda then Harkes has to be in the mix too. HE has been around the game, played overseas, been involved in youth development and knows the game backwards and forwards. He has worked under a very good MLS manager in Bruce Arena and if any ex MLS player deserves a shot it should be him, not crazy Wynalda...

  • In reply to jking:

    They're still just working on the list? What have they been doing all this time? These are supposed to be soccer professionals, right? And they had to have at least entertained the possibility of parting ways with Hamlett early in the Fall. How long does it take people whose job is soccer and who expect to need a new coach to come up with a handful of viable prospects? In my field, I can identify the people I'd want to interview for a given position in a matter of hours. No wonder this franchise is beset by incompetence.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    Lets give them a chance. They are not the only MLS side looking for a coach so they probably are keeping their mouths shut right now. Lets not forget what they have done this off season. 4 things everybody wanted. Lose The Menace and sign BMB, CJ, and Pappa. So right now, for this off season, they are 4 for 4.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    if we hired Eric Wynalda or John Harkes as our coach i would kill myself. its hard enough listening to them do commentary.

  • In reply to tribhater:

    So, how is it that Red Bulls actually talked seriously with Avram Grant and finally sign a contract with Tony Adams (with a great possibility of signing his friend Thierry Henry) while Fire seem to have no clear direction? I agree with Michael K - when did they know they were going to sack Denis? Did they not prepare for this?

  • In reply to mwaech1:

    If I were Klopas, I would provide only "need to know" answers to the media when asked about the search for a new coach. If Klopas has had discussions with candidates, why potentially poison them by saying too much to the media. Don't assume that Klopas hasn't been doing anything since Hameltt's dismissal besides compiling a list.

  • In reply to mwaech1:

    The Fire should have had a new manager lined up for an announcement the day of or the day after firing Denis. I doubt they came to this decision on the final day of the season (even if they were holding out for an MLS Cup match). As far as someone with "MLS experience", how about giving that up and focus on Klopas' goal of finding someone who is suited to an offensive style of play? If they have MLS experience then great!

  • Wynalda's an interesting idea, but let's look at someone successful from somewhere else, a different system, that'll make our team better with unbiased decisions, a style that will meld well, and an overall nice guy who won't fight with 6 foot defenders. I hope that somewhere out there, that guy is available.

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