Former player Hunter Jumper unloads on organization

Hunter Jumper was drafted by the Fire in the 2012 MLS Superdraft and he appeared in seven games before his career was cut short by a medical condition last season. Tonight, in response to a tweet by Fire Confidential contributor and podcast co-host Jeff Krause, Jumper embarked in a night of commentary about the Fire organization and none of it shed a good light on what went on behind the scenes during his time in Chicago.

This may be just one former player's perspective but it certainly should raise eyebrows here and at MLS headquarters.

Here are the highlights:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • If Grant Wahl ever gets that interview...

  • Wow. What a scathing critique.

    Some of it may be sour grapes, but if his description of the culture is even close to accurate, it would go a long way toward explaining the current, on-field struggles of a once-proud team.

  • You should try to get him on a podcast - I'd love to hear more of what he has to say, especially if the culture he described continued past the Klopas era.

  • The think the real issue here is there going to be another signing as Jeff pointed out in the first place? ;)

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Null Null is a great player. ;)

  • Honestly a lot of this makes a little too much sense.

    Obviously Hauptman is not a great owner, and has, um, fucked up the team quite a bit. But I always had a tough time believing the common narrative among fans that he was this conniving asshole who is gleefully and willfully destroying the team. Of course he's been able to make a great return on investment from just buying the team and watching the value quadruple thanks to MLS booming, but that doesn't mean he's a cu...evil capitalist laughing all the way to the bank (in LA).

    Hunter's narrative is actually more in line with the Hauptman that Don Walsh believes in, someone who really cares, but (unlike what the deluded Mr. Walsh believes) is really REALLY ignorant on how to run the team. THAT makes a lot of sense. It's Hauptman's job to figure that out, and he hasn't set himself up for success (no president, no one trustworthy in the organization, bad coaches, bad talent evaluation, etc), and that's on him, so I'm still sympathetic to #hauptmanout and all that. But it still makes you wonder if protesting fans are picking away at the wrong thread.

    Also, I found the info on Sherjill and Videira interesting. Sherjill the locker room motivator is not something I had envisioned. And poor Videira. I mean he was obviously not more than depth at this level, but that doesn't make him a tool to break and throw away. That's pretty despicable.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    The shortcomings of a first-time owner. WE'RE stuck on the learning curve roller coaster as well.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I agree with what you are saying. I think that the Hauptman out message is really a short way of saying the organization needs a complete reboot from top top bottom. Ownership, staff, coaches, everyone needs to be replaced and retooled for today's MLS. They need a state of the art practice facility where they don't walk across a crumbling parking lot to a field that last saw a shade tree before the pioneers crossed the prairie. Invest in the product by making the facilities number 1 in the league. If they cannot build it at TP, then do it in the burbs where better facilities can be made and also where youth teams can also share the facilities like a true professional organization. Look at RBNY's training facility. It can compete with facilities in Europe.

    Hauptman Out to me means a clean sweep of everyone associated with the club. Local ownership is key not for soccer reasons but solely for marketing and franchising brand building reasons. Top flight management needs to be brought in to build a scouting organization that will not be hoodwinked for every signing. Coaching from the youth level through the first team needs to buy into a single method. The Cubs needed to do this and it was a painful transition but worth it. The only idiot left in the Cubs organization is Crane Kenney and it shows every time he is allowed to speak in public. A Clean Sweep is what is needed. The only thing that should not change is the badge because that is the best design in MLS.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    ^^^This!^^^ 100% Agree.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I don't know Hauptmann and have no opinion of him as a person one way or the other. Although, my sense is he is a good guy and has raised a bunch of money to help underprivileged kids in Los Angeles.

    But, I think it is pretty safe and objective to say that he values this team more as a lucrative investment than for the play on the field or the club's tradition.

    He is an investment banker. The team is part of having a diverse portfolio. Andell has holdings in real estate, marketing, service businesses, storage centers, you name it.

    The investment bank game operates on pretty simple logic: buy low, sell high. Make sure your assets don't devalue significantly; diversify your holdings to help manage risk.

    I am sure Andell has a threshold and expectation for valuation of assets.

    So when people say, "well he could earn more money if they are winning," you have to understand the context within which the Fire operate as part of his larger portfolio.

    We don't know exactly what the health of Andell Inc is because it is private. But I assume that the Fire are chugging along as a relatively low-risk, high-return on investment part of his larger portfolio.

    He obviously isn't invested in the team from an ego team like, say, an Abromavitch is with Chelsea. It was pretty clear from the outset of Andrew's tenure that he was attracted by the potential return on investment.

    All I can do as a supporter is to try and not line his pockets with my modest money. If enough people do that, you could see a pressure to sell coming from the league. Or the negative PR isn't something he wants to deal with anymore.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    ^Agree. Jumper sees things from the perspective of someone at the bottom of the organization. It's interesting that he didn't lash out at Hauptmann - it would make the picture simpler for those of us who believe he should sell the team. But the comments don't change my opinion that the owner is the one who is ultimately responsible for the team.

    Remember the "culture comes from the top down" comments in The Editorial? If those comments were sincere, even though I disagree with that notion as a supporter, this is a massive condemnation of ownership's failure to instill a healthy culture in the organization.

    That money they spent with IDEO on marketing would have been better spent on improving the culture of the organization itself.

  • I'm curious how aware AH is of the details of disfunction within, ie is there a case of Russian Czar syndrome going on (where the Czar's underlings tell him everything's fine, when in fact, they aren't.)

    I will confess that knowing this new info, I'm not so hard on the guy, but now I realize that there are more than one set of fingerprints at the scene of the crime.

  • Guys who the heck is don Walsh? He sounds out of it

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    HAHAHA, be glad you don't know.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    You sound like an enemy of the Fire. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    G

    Who is Don Walsh?

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Don is a fan who has taken to vehemently defending the front office against any negativity from other fans.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Is the "fan base needs to be cleansed" comment included in the vehemently defending?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I would think that qualifies.

  • I think that most of us knew that there was an issue with how Klopas ran training and how not one young player was able to play/develop under him. And even the casual fan knew that the two in charge during that time were not competent. I understand that party of it and it is telling.

    His comments didn't bother me as much as his tone. His overall tone rubbed me the wrong way. He has a way he feels about the league and the fire. I wont pretend to understand, because I'm just a supporter, but later in his rant it was clear that he doesn't think highly of MLS. And to me that's convenient for a player who wasn't anything more then a depth player. He has medical reasons for stepping away from the game, but even in his time he did play he was exactly lighting it up. "Robayo Esq" tone about all things MLS has me taking his rant with a grain of salt.

    All of the coaches and assistants are gone from that regime with the exception of Hyde I think? But moving on he does shed some light on a "culture issue" which I have noticed as well. It seems like players play scared, don't play confident. I think a lot of that has to do with the constant negativity spewed out. A lot of players #cf97 sign start off getting told on twitter that they suck and are a dumpster dive, because they are not a World Class signing. A player has a bad game and are dragged through the mud. I am not saying people need to blind support, because I think every supporter has a right to support how they want. But somewhere in between the Don and the negative Nancys would help to change the culture.

    I guess regardless of the negativity, the only way out of this hole is to win. 1 tackle, 1 goal, 1 game, 1 season at a time. They all build momentum in changing culture.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I don't think players are treated any differently here by fans than they are anywhere else in any professional sport. I think that has very little to do with how they perform on the field.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I agree to a point, but I cant remember ever that every signing is met with this much negativity. Polster was looked down on, Accam was looked down on. Not by everyone but by the more vocal.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I think that might be a matter of perspective. I don't recall anyone having a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Polster. I think most of the talk was that he exceeded expectations, thus the lack of a need for Victor Perez. Accam was seen (at least by people I talked to) as an unknown, which brought with it more "wait and see" from people that could be construed as negativity, given the Fire's recent history, but therein I believe lies the issue.

    Good signings like Friedrich (who was older and injury prone), Pardo (who's clock was also ticking), and Grazzini (who was great, but whose contract was flubbed by the former regime) are a blip when you consider Puppo, Robayo, Fernandez, Ljundberg, MacDonald, and Anangono, all of whom came in with the higher DP tag, but far underperformed the other three. That tends to leave a really bitter taste in people's mouths when it comes to nearly any signing. Even Maloney, who many (myself included) thought was going to be a difference maker, completely under-performed and was nothing more than another eventual failed blip on the Fire radar.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    You forgot the cameo appearance of Arevalo Rios that was a pointless DP signing in 2013. Also, the acquisition of Joel Lindpere that was a former Chicago Fire killer during his NYRB days that aged 5 years in one season with the Men in Red. Notable names like Guillermo Franco, Diego Chavez, Gaston Puerari and the madness could go on and on.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I recall in this comment space (which is where I get most of my responses from other fans) some negative comments about Polster, based on him coming from a less well-known soccer school and his emotional response to being drafted; I also remember negative responses to Accam and Igboananike because they were not "proven difference makers" (or similar language).

    So I think there are two main points: 1) any move by a pro team will have its critics among team fans; but 2) Fire fans have more reason than many to critique new player acquisitions, based on the lamentably low level of success that signings over the past 7 years have shown on the field. When management signs players, they can say what they want about "tradition, honor, passion" and talk about the 1998 double, the Blanco era, etc. Players who come to the team now are in for a very different experience, and they need to be ready to tune out a certain amount of that and show their self-belief on the field.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I absolutely had negative responses to all three of those players. Many had Polster on the 2nd day of the draft before the combine. The move seemed like a spur of the moment move. Like their only scouting was done at the combine. I am now the biggest Polster supporter out there. I dont really trust any player this club brings in, but especially while Yallop has been here. I still dont think DP signings should be hopeful of them turning out to be good signings. They need to be the best players on the team. You only have 3 chances to sign a DP.

    I am much more Yallop Out than I am Hauptmann Out. Sure Hauptmann isnt spending crazy amounts of money on players but he is spending a lot. His biggest problem is the people that he has hired. He is 100% responsible for that. I also like that he is having his soccer people signing players. A good coach would go a long way in turning around the culture at the club.

  • Some of this stuff explains why Austin Berry came in here as a confident CB and left for the farthest place he go to get away from it.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    He was traded to Philadelphia for allocation money in order compensate Mike Magee for his MVP season. He was the most tradeable asset at the time so they moved him.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I know G.. I'm talking more about since then, leaving MLS and trying to find a home overseas someplace. S. Korea seems like a long way to go both in distance and play to prolong a career.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    I recently read an interview with Berry in which it sounded like a big reason for heading to Korea was his treatment at Philly, actually.

  • If player performance is being effected by what some idiot on Twitter says, maybe they're in the wrong profession.

    I feel for Jumper and what he has gone through medically. At the same time, he comes off more bitter than anything else here. The guy was always on the edge of being in or out of the 18 and only played what, 7 or 8 games in the two seasons he was healthy.

    So you didn't like a coach who didn't play you very much? Color me shocked. I'm sure Klopas had his deficiencies, but I'd like to hear another player come forward before I buy all this hook line and sinker.

    I've heard far more negativity from people in the know about Hauptman than I'd ever heard about Klopas.

  • Guys I met Chris Rolfe about two weeks before he was traded to DC. He stated that Klopas had completely lost the room for over a year. Can you imagine what the ROOM is like under Franky Yallop

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    I had heard that at well, going back to that dismal first third in 2013.

    All this talk about culture and development makes me wonder how brave of a face Harry Shipp is really putting on, how much he'll take, and how much this is affecting his performance.

    Granted, each team has these same factors somewhere on the scale at all levels and if we were to have a similar expose of all the other MLS clubs, we'd see that the Fire are not unique in that respect. That said, it could probably always be better.

    PS- I really like the people that comment on here. I've learned a lot of stuff the last couple years. Much thanks.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    +1 on the commenters!

  • Sorry I meant two years ago

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