Happy Days

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*Note: I changed the title of this article. The old one sucked.*

> "For those who know their Fire history they remember a guy like [former head coach] Bob Bradley based on his integrity and the type of ethical guy that he is. When I sat down with Carlos the first thing i thought about was Bob Bradley. Carlos is someone who is very honorable, who is going to come here and work very hard and get results. And so I think we want... to make this a long term relationship."

> "The last thing I would say to everyone is that there's nothing like a track record. We saw what happened in El Salvador and that's track record. He took a group of young kids who no one believed in -- there was no belief in El Salvador -- and in less then 4 years he was able to put together a process by which the team became the toast of the country. Everybody knows now about 'La Selecta.' There's almost like a brand behind it because of what he was able to do."

> -Javier Leon on new Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos

That's very high praise for a man who has yet to coach a game in MLS. Or meet his team. Or deal with a language barrier. But those thoughts weren't on anyone's mind today at Toyota Park, where the Fire put an official end to their 2 1/2 month coaching search by formally introducing their next head coach, Carlos de los Cobos.

And why shouldn't today be one of optimism for the Fire? After all they got their man. De los Cobos was the number one choice for the Fire. Bringing experience from the game's highest levels with him to Chicago, De los Cobos has everyone (including himself) excited about 2010. "It's a great responsibility sitting here before you all today," De los Cobos said. "I understand that the club has a great winning tradition and this is a great opportunity for me to further develop my skills as a coach and continue winning here in Chicago."

Apart from the general excitement surrounding the end of the coaching search, the other main theme of the day was De los Cobos's tactical philosophy. And strangely enough, his mentality lines up with the one we've been hearing from Technical Director Frank Klopas for the last month...

"I've always had the idea that the philosophy is to play an attractive style of soccer," De los Cobos said. "I know that the most important thing is to win but there are different ways of winning and the way that I've always had has been to play an attractive style of soccer. A style of soccer that can be enjoyed by the fans. A style in which there's a lot of ball movement, good control of the ball, good touch on the ball. That's the type of style that I want to bring."

But De los Cobos knows that bringing that style of play to the Fire -- which has no doubt grown accustomed to playing very direct soccer over the last few years -- won't be easy. But that doesn't mean he isn't prepared for the challenge.

"This won't be a simple job," De los Cobos said. "I'll have to concentrate and work hard to do well. I have to learn things quickly. Not only the players [on the roster] but basically how things operate in this league and the differences and nuances compared to what I'm accustomed to, specifically with the Mexican first division. But that makes me very excited and makes me work hard in terms of approaching this challenge."

And it's not just front office types that De los Cobos has gotten excited. Players are jumping in on the act too.

"Obviously he's a coach who's got an unbelievable resume and I'm extremely excited," Fire midfielder Logan Pause said over the phone. "When something like this happens it does open new opportunities for players -- both myself and the rest of the roster in terms of having to prove yourself all of again -- and I welcome that challenge as I'm sure the rest of our team is also."

As I've said before, I like this hire. The more I learn about De los Cobos the more I like the guy. He seems like he'll be very easy for players to relate to (despite the language barrier some of them will have) and as Leon said, he does have quite the track record.

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  • Out of curiosity, did you ask him about the plan for his assistant coaches?

  • In reply to jlmurtaugh:

    I did not. However, I did hear that at least some (if not all) of the coaching staff from last year will remain in their roles with the team. At the very least I would think goalkeeper coach Daryl Shore will stick around in that position.

  • In reply to jlmurtaugh:

    Has a new coach ever come in and proclaimed that he will promote a dour, defensive style of play? I get worried when MLS coaches preach style, because you cannot always go out and buy players that fit what you want to do, but rather must cobble together players of greatly varying degrees of ability into an outfit that can win. (or reach .500, sneak into the playoffs and be proclaimed Champions of the whole damn league)

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