Klopas and Leon out as Hauptman cleans house

On the 15th anniversary of the Fire's "double" in 1998, owner Andrew Hauptman has relieved head coach Frank Klopas and President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon of their duties. Both have been fixtures as decision makers with the club since the beginning of Hauptman's tenure as owner. Leon joined the Fire one day after Andell Holdings purchased the club in 2007 and Klopas was hired as technical director in January of 2008. The moves signal a forthcoming complete overhaul of the technical staff after having missed the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons. It also signals yet another change in direction behind the bench. The next coach will be the seventh head man in club history and fifth since the end of the 2007 season.

The club issued a release via their website this morning formally announcing that both Klopas and Leon had "stepped down" and that a search for new leadership would commence immediately. No official word has been made yet on the fate of VP of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei and Scouting Director Rafael Carmona but it's safe to say that neither are long for their positions.

While the search continues for replacements it's possible that something could already be in the works. The Fire have aggressively pursued  Frank Yallop for front office role over the past month but reports indicate he'll accept a job as Martin Rennie's replacement in Vancouver. Another name now in the mix is former Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch, who was fired by the Montreal Impact last fall.

Hauptman seems to be leaning toward hiring an individual who is capable of serving a dual role as technical director/coach and Yallop would seem to better fit that profile than Marsch does. If Yallop heads to Vancouver and Marsch isn't the guy where does that leave the Fire? Eric Wynalda? Peter Nowak? Preki? Bob Bradley?

Whoever it is, he'll have his hands full.

Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Bob Bradley was getting somewhere in the 800k region to manage Egypt right? If that's correct, I don't think the Fire will come anywhere near that. Didn't we get laughed off at a low offer once to an aspiring Houston assistant coach a few years back?

  • In reply to waamsy:

    That would be John Spencer who supposedly declined a low offer before Denis Hamlett was offered the position.


  • Does anyone know the real reason why Jesse was relieved of his duties by Montreal?

  • In reply to nery:

    He didn't get along with owner Joey Saputo. Both had different ideas about the team going forward.

    Marsch would be a lateral move in my opinion.

  • Can we get Ted Lasso to leave Spurs and come to coach the Fire?

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Ha! That would be almost as entertaining as having Wynalda on board.

  • Per Jeff Crandall on twitter, the fate the remaining coaching staff will be determined by whoever takes the reins.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Which seems to indicate the dual-role hiring, or a Director of Soccer Ops as the first hiring, ahead of a head coach.

    Interesting days, these.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's got to be reassuring for current staff.

    Either a new guy comes in and gives you the axe or Happyman eats a bad Wheatie in the morning and decides you need to go...

  • I can't say I'm a huge fan of the dual role. Split responsibilities make much more sense to me. One focuses on each game, the near term, the present, the other on scouting players worldwide, the present & future, and has to make the final call with input from his team. I'm sure it can be a successful model, I just don't prefer it.

    Anyhow, like i said late last night, now we really get to see what Hauptman is made of and how much of this mess of an organization lies with him. He better get these hirings right or it's going to get pretty dire for the Fire.

  • In reply to Drew:

    If he doesn't, I would think blowback from the fan base and supporters would make it pretty hot for him, too.

  • At first when I heard the news, I thought I'm going to renew for next season. But after thinking about it for awhile, each succeeding change seems to be slightly worse than the last one.
    There can be worse choices than Marsch or Wynalda, but Yallop would be my first choice.
    Don't like the dual role option. Wynalda would be an interesting selection, who probably could draw some solid players to the club.
    One name that I haven't heard is McBride, seems like a Wynalda/McBride, Marsch/McBride combination would be super.
    McBride would seem to be an excellent choice for G.M. and either Wynalda or Marsch as coach. Don't know how that would work out but it would energize the faithful.
    One thing I remember about Jesse Marsch occurred during a meet and greet the team event. There were 4 or 5 younger players acting like a bunch of clowns, as soon as Marsch walked in you would have thought the Pope walked in, I was surprised they didn't kiss his ring. All of a sudden they straightened up, became much more appropriate, then walked over to him and shook hands. It was an amazing thing to see.
    That's the type for presence the team needs as coach.
    But whoever takes over the team, will have a fairly solid roster to start with, actually stronger than the previous season when we did make the playoffs. Only several quality additions are needed to become a strong competitor

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I wouldn't gamble on anyone with training wheels right now. I don't know if McBride would even be interested but I'd prefer someone who's done it before in that role.

  • Hey, the playoffs start today.

    I like Seattle over Colorado in the West play-in game.

  • I know there are a bunch of factors that go into scheduling, but it would have been nice if MLS didn't put this fixture up against the Mexico v. Finland friendly.

    Yeah, its just a friendly, but given all that's going on with team, there will be more interest than normal.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    It's hard enough to schedule around international dates let alone friendlies.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yeah, but why not, say, have the Eastern Conf game tonight at 8 est and the Western game tomorrow? The Mexico game starts at 10pm est tonight.

    Plus, you have the teams that played the earliest last weekend play tonight and the ones that played latest play tomorrow, maximizing the time for rest for all of the teams.

  • Andrew Hauptman is holding a press conference tomorrow to make an announcement regarding the organization.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Perhaps he is selling to someone who cares about restoring the Fire to it's former glory?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "I'm here to announce that I am selling the team to a group of investors including Lee Stern. They are bringing in Peter Wilt to run the organization and will building a soccer-specific stadium on 35th across from US Cellular field."

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Put the bong down Roti. ;)

  • It's about time!!! The only players that should consider themselves secure are Magee and Johnson. The entire back line is up for grabs. Currently it's made up of retreads with issues or ROOKIES who will soooooooon be stars. Yeah, right!! The last time the FIRE was entertaining was when Blanco was playing. If you can't win consistently then you damn well better be entertaining. Hauptman may be part of the problem, but we are stuck with him. So the coach and Opns head (need two individuals) need to be good. Can someone clone Caleb Porter. No big names, no big money players but lots of style and SUCCESS.

  • In order to help Frank Yallop feel at home next season, the Fire will play in black Earthquake kits next October.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    still upset the flag jersey didn't win? ;)

  • Uh oh...GR, I think I jinxed it. Remember my joke about the Fire getting Lenhart? They're one step closer...UGH!

  • Yallop is an excellent choice. If he was head coach this season, the Fire with the same roster would have easily made the playoffs.
    First time I totally agree with Hauptman. Now I can renew knowing
    the F.O. is invested in becoming a winner and having a quality product on the pitch.

  • Given Happyman's track record of axing coaches from inside the organization, the Yallop selection is 100% on his shoulders. So if his guy doesn't do well with the resources given - which he implied, from the quotes I saw on Twitter, would be greater than at San Jose - then who can we blame?

    Oh, yeah, those fans who didn't just take their milk and cookies away in silence after the USOC semifinal.

    Another thing is that Yallop is here well before the start of the next season. IF he has the resources, and makes good decisions based on the market and the current player pool, we might have a team set before the beginning of the season that can actually not dig itself a huge hole.

    As far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on the whole organization.

  • i like this hiring, someone with a track record of success in mls.

    i believe the team is on the right track now. we have a really nice core group of players, and in one offseason can realistically find a few players to take us to another level. ah has also learned some painful lessons over the past few years, which is unfortunate but perhaps necessary.

    what's the story on rios deal? is he coming back or does he need to be resigned? actually, i'd love to see a story on the team's players' contract statuses...who's in next year (if they want 'em back), who needs to be resigned, etc.

    looking forward to this offseason - the first few moves have been good ones imo, so hopefully yallop can now take the reigns and make some impact signings and some addition by subtraction.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Funny you should mention that topic....I'm working on something regarding the roster and contracts for next season.

    The clubs has an option on Rios for two more years at a pretty substantial DP salary. They'll have a big decision to make on him.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    i like rios, he certainly has something to offer. but they have to find a creative, attacking mid first and foremost. and if they can't do it with rios on the books, then they need to move on. at least they have some solid options at the holding mid.

    looking forward to your roster/contracts post...

  • I think its time we applaud AH for something. Thanks for getting somebody who knows what they are doing here. Now get out of his way and let the man work.

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