CJ Brown leaves the Fire for expansion NYCFC

This has been a rough season for the Chicago  Fire and the year appears to be closing with more bad news. The Daily Herald reported this morning that lead assistant CJ Brown is leaving the club to accept a coaching position with expansion team New York City FC. Brown, a 2012 Ring of Fire inductee is immensely popular among the Fire's fan base and this news is certain not to go over well. Per a statement issued by the club, Frank Yallop addressed the departure by saying that efforts were made to retain Brown. “It’s disappointing to lose C.J. from our coaching staff, as we made every attempt to ensure he would remain with the Club long-term,” said Yallop. He also alluded to Brown's relationship with NYCFC boss and former Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis, who added him to RSL's coaching staff after his retirement as a player in 2010.

Brown also addressed the move in a press release issued by NYCFC by stating that his desire to help build the expansion club from scratch while working with a staff that he is very familiar with was a motivating factor behind the switch. “I see this as a rare opportunity to be part of building a club from the ground up,” Brown told NYCFC.com. “It's an experience and challenge that most coaches don't get during their career, particularly not at a project as exciting as this one. There is so much potential at this club, it’s a blank slate at the moment but we could do something very special for soccer in this country."

“Leaving Chicago Fire is very difficult,” said Brown. “This will be my second time leaving a club that has been a major influence on my life. I have a good relationship with everyone at the Club and I truly appreciate all of the Chicago fans, they welcomed me back and it's always been fun. But having an opportunity like this, to work with one of my former coaches and play a part in creating history here, is something very special.”

Brown's departure leaves Clint Mathis, goalkeeper coach Aron Hyde, and trainer Tony Jouaux on Yallop's full time staff. There is no word yet on who might replace Brown although Brian McBride served as a part time coach last season and the newly retired Logan Pause begins his post-playing days today as the Club's Vice President.

Brown served as an assistant coach under Kreis at RSL from 2011 through 2013 before joining Yallop's staff last December as Kreis was headed to New York. Less than a year after returning to Chicago, Brown is on the move again.

2014 has been rough.

Filed under: 2014 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Pretty big indictment on the state of the club.

    Don't blame C.J. at all.

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    i think this has more to do with cj wanting to work with Jason Kreis.

  • In reply to Stephen Healy:

    FWIW.....that seems to be the big reason. I'm told money was not a factor.

  • Well, I guess Pause is there to slide into that role if the club would like. Maybe McBride starts full-time assistant coach duties? I know he didn't like the travel associated with his Fox Sports duties, don't know if he'd like the travel associated with the full time duties of coaching. 2014 needs to end soon for cf97...

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    I agree with seaside, this is a bad omen. He knows where this club is going, and he is not staying. Pause was never a great player, and I don't know why some people rate him. I guess time will tell, but not good!!

  • Deserting a sinking ship?

  • This is just plain demoralizing. Sure, no blame on CJ. I'm sure I'd make the same decision in his shoes. It's like asking someone if they want to stay on the crew of a tramp steamer or sign up to sail on the new luxury liner.

    Whether or not he could see what's wrong with the club from his position, I'm sure he was not in a role where he could fix it. Plus, what could he learn in the current Fire organization that would serve him better than working with a new club with lots of resources and connections to two of the richest sporting organizations in the world?

    Jeez, that sounds good, maybe I should become a NYCFC fan. Not.

  • Dangerously close to rock bottom...

  • Guys
    Let's get real losing old CJ is good for the team. He along with Yallop were a train reck. He probably knew that another year under yallop and not Kreisler would mean the end of soccer coaching for old Czj.
    The fire desperately need the best college coach that would be willing to leave the comforts of the NCAA and move to the fire. The fire will never compete in the same league with La, Portland, Seattle, and even Boston. They have to develop the college talent that will be available cheap if they ever want even moderate success. Czj and Yallop almost destroyed the college talent that they had why not move to someone that has success with college draft talent. This might sound odd but there is a junior college coach right here at the college of dupage that knows more about the sport than anyone I have ever met. His name is jim kelly. JIMm played in the Manchester United system then the Tulsa roughnecks and the sting. He would be a tremendous pick up for a team that will not make intelligent moved and has to rely on younger players to fill the huge void created by klopas, yallop. Bliss and HAuptman.

  • CJ is a class act. I wish him great success with NYCFC.

    I like the bit from Yallop's statement making excuses for losing CJ (i.e. he wanted to be back with Kreis).

    I am sure that it is true that CJ wants to go to a better situation, but Yallop's "Mr. Excuse" act is wearing thin: if it's not the poor pitch, then its the league conspiring against us, or "they're not my players," etc...

    At what point do he and Hauptman take ownership of the sinking ship they have cultivated?

    Already they are losing out on the player front to the expansion teams; and now they have lost an assistant coach to one, as well.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    What Yallop said about the move is factual and one can't blame Brown for making the change.

    Where the Fire did fail in this situation is two-fold however. The first misstep was allowing Brown to leave the club initially after he retired in 2010. The second issue was bringing him back to much acclaim last year and not locking him into a multi year deal. Brown was working as a standard "at will" employee, as almost all MLS assistants are. Perhaps they should have gone the extra step and locked him into a contract, although to be fair he was among the top paid assistants in the league.
    Tough situation.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Guillermo, I totally understand everything you're saying there about the realities of the situation.

    My point is that there is a context with Yallop/Hauptman that EVERYTHING has to be qualified with an excuse. The whole pattern is wearing thin.

    I'm not sure why he can't just say, "We appreciate CJ's dedication and service to the Fire and respect his decision to join NYCFC. We wish him and his family the best of success in this new endeavor. Although CJ is a one-of-a-kind competitor and Fire legend, we will be taking this opportunity to strengthen our staff going forward".

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    Nothing has happened since the end of the season that
    has inspired a renewed confidence for 2015.
    The lack of support for Shipp for rookie of the year is disgusting.
    CJ leaving, no matter the reason, reflects badly on the organization.
    One has to wonder what's going on with those at the helm, evidently they must live in a vacuum.
    No wonder why CJ left, if the club's higher ups are not willing to make a commitment to the fans to produce a competitive club, what are the committed to besides failure.
    I'm sure if the team made concerted offer they might have kept CJ.
    The leadershipn seems to back off making positive commitments, the team probably could have signed Jones if they acted more decisively at jump street. However, they are good at offering great excuses.
    Apparently the team is being run by a collection of moronic eunuchs.

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    The Fire just signed Kennedy Igboananike (who) as a DP signing.
    This should strike fear in the hearts of our opponents.
    According to Transfermarkt he scored 8 goals and 3 assists in 31 games for season 2014. His international value is set at 900,000
    Typical dumb ass Fire move, trying things on the cheap,
    seems like a half of a step above Mc Donald or Mr. go no.
    Haven't we been down this road before, the low ball road.
    Disgusting, he may be a decent player, but not at the DP level

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    Color me skeptical about Kennedy as well.

    Interesting that the Fire is showing a goal from nearly two years ago on their website as representative of his talents.

    On the plus side, he had been linked to Southampton which has shown over the past couple of years that they know what they are doing with regard to scouting.

    On the negative side, Southampton passed on him. Last year the excuse was that he couldn't get a work permit. But now he has Swedish citizenship, so that wouldn't have been an issue.

    He also apparently has a $1 million release clause. That's a lot of dough

  • I'll wait until we get to taste the pudding, but it may be that "DP" applies more to the price tag than performance. We'll see how this unfolds. I'd hope the tactics match the abilities of whomever is brought in this offseason.

    At least he doesn't seem to have massive injury baggage from what I've dug up so far, which is a nice change.

  • I saw Guillermo tweet he's a DP on salary not just transfer $.

    Before making up your mind just on name recognition alone, take a look at his videos. Kids got talent. Very fast, athletic, technically sound and some real quality finishes to boot...esp. that incredible bicycle kick. At 25 and at a position of need, with some history of scoring goals, I like it. I'd put his over/under of goals scored next year at 10, which is nothing to sneeze at...and he could become a real quality forward for the Fire.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Watching the highlight videos, it came to mind that he'll need a good supporting cast to make things happen.

    Also looking at the videos, he's not 1-dimensional in how he scores his goals.

    This could get interesting.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Highlight videos are just that, obviously, so one has to be careful in judging off those. That said, I remember watching Anangono and thinking he looked slow and not sure footed. He was large and had a chance to be a good target forward, but the video didn't quite convince. This guy, on the other hand, really looks good to me.

  • Sounds like he had interest from not just England, and you can see why in the highlights. Scores from both feet, in the box, outside the box, can manage a breakaway, servicable header of the ball, has speed and also the quickness to turn a defender. Still agree that he would do best with support but we're not doing so hot in that department right now - last season showed how vital Nyarko is to the team.

    He's coming from a quality club in a selling league, is a reasonable age, without an injury-riddled recent history. He hasn't gotten any national team call-ups from what I've seen, at the senior or junior level. In some ways that may be good, as expectations aren't build up around him as to where he should be playing. Nigeria has a lot of excellent players in Europe and beyond so that doesn't worry me in the slightest.

    I'm willing to give him a shake. As Tweaky said about Anangono, with some other recent signings, you could smell a rat even through youtube. I don't smell that immediately. He's got a nice goal celebration, if you go for the somersault thing. I wouldn't mind having lots of opportunities next season to see it and decide if I really like it.

  • Guillermo:

    It would appear Kennedy's been on Frank's radar before back in 2012:


    "Two MLS clubs (San Jose and Dallas) wanted striker who still was not interested in a move to the US, even though it would have meant doubling the salary."

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Good catch.

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