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.