Frank Yallop addressed a variety of questions from supporters at a town hall meeting for season ticket holders on Saturday morning. Just about everything from homegrown to designated players was covered. Here are the highlights:
- One of Yallop's first tasks was figuring out where the club was budget wise. He described the situation as "stretched" and needed to find ways to make the budget work in 2014.
- Bringing back Egidio Arevalo Rios was going to be nearly impossible at his 2014 cost and that initiated the move not to renew him.
- The Fire continue to negotiate with Chris Rolfe and Logan Pause and are optimistic that something will get done. Yallop sounded like something was close on Rolfe and it seemed like Pause's situation could involve a new role. (player/coach?)
- He felt the team needed help in the back and the move to get Lovel Palmer was made with that thought in mind. CJ Brown also spoke highly of Palmer. Palmer will help with squad rotation giving some guys a chance to rest throughout the season.
- Yallop and Bliss will now begin scouting trips and he broached the topic of Designated Players by saying he wanted to make sure any addition was the "right guy".
- He is proceeding with the expectation that Sean Johnson will be part of the US World Cup squad next summer and they are actively moving to sign another goalkeeper. Johnson trained with Norwich City last week.
- CJ Brown will serve as Yallop's first assistant. He called the move to bring him back "the simplest decision" he's made in soccer.
- Yallop will name another assistant and a goalkeeper's coach in January.
- The main area of improvement needs to come on the defensive end where Yallop feels the Fire conceded too many goals in 2013 but he was not overly concerned with the club's dismal record on turf. There could be some more turnover but he feels the team isn't too far away from being a serious contender.
- Yallop feels the club has some talented players that "need some pushing and pulling from me." He again addressed the need for defense by saying they needed to strengthen the middle with only Soumare and Berry in that spot.
- Yallop spoke to Frank Klopas about three days after taking the job and referred to the former Fire coach as a friend.
- He is headed to the UK and Spain for scouting missions. He will speak with Tottenham about possible loans and referenced a deal in San Jose that landed them Simon Dawkins for a period. He also cited a good relationship with QPR's Harry Redknapp and confirmed that he would be visiting Atletico Madrid. He admitted that he tends to know Europe more than South America and may be looking there first for reinforcements.
- Regarding DP's, Yallop said that owner Andrew Hauptman is "not afraid to put his hand in his pocket" to shell out big dollars and said that his passion for the club was evident upon meeting with him.
- Yallop feels that Notre Dame's Harrison Shipp can play in MLS and assured everyone that, "we'll get him." It sounded like a deal was imminent while comparing him to a young Mike Magee.
- The Fire have spoken to a couple of USLPro clubs about affiliations but the particular USL sides aren't ready at the moment. They will revisit the topic but plan to field a reserve side in 2014.
- He is searching for an another attacking midfielder to play off of Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee.
- There are a couple of players they are interested in who are available in the second round of Wednesday's Re-Entry draft.
Klopas in Montreal
ESPNFC confirmed our reports from Friday that Frank Klopas was interviewing for the Montreal job and talks had progressed quickly. Control over assistant coaches seems to be a sticking point although the Impact have yet to formally announce anything regrading Marco Schallibaum's status even going so far as to say that he was still the coach but his future was yet to be determined.
Sounds like a bit of a mess in Montreal.
Fire to build new soccer center
Andrew Hauptman and the Fire have taken an impressive step towards increasing the club's visibility and presence within City limits with word of a new soccer dome to be built on Talman and Addison. The Chicago Fire Soccer Center is slated to open in summer of 2014 and will feature two regulation size turf fields and an air supported removal dome. The first team will practice on site periodically to prepare for turf games.
The cost of the facility is somewhere between $15 to $20 million.
This will be another busy week in Fire news.