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Ezra Hendrickson Begins Rounding Out His Assistant Coaching Staff

The new Fire head coach has settled on a former colleague and a pair of coaches that will be familiar to the players. Oh yea, a Fire legend is set to join as well.

Junior Gonzalez Chicago Fire
Photo: Major League Soccer

New Chicago Fire FC head coach Ezra Hendrickson is beginning to round out his coaching staff for the 2022 season. Some of the staff will provide a familiar feel on the Soldier Field touchlines. Frank Klopas and Adin Brown are both returning to the club as assistant coaches.

You may remember Klopas – a Ring of Fire inductee – as the interim manager after Raphael Wicky left the club this past September. Klopas managed the final six games of the already-lost 2021 Fire season, winning two matches and drawing one.

Adin Brown will return as the club’s goalkeeping coach, a role he has had since the 2020 season. Brown played in MLS from 2000-2004 and 2011 with a stop in Norway sandwiched between. Fire goalkeeper Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina made history this past season as he became the youngest MLS goalkeeper to start a match. Brown is considered to be integral to Slonina’s development into the starting keeper and hopeful U.S. international.

Newest Additions

While there will be familiar faces within the coaching staff, some new faces will appear. The club announced today that Junior González will be another one of Hendrickson’s assistant coaches.

González brings more than 20 years of coaching experience to the Fire, spending the past two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship. He was also an assistant coach and Director of Scouting for Chivas USA in MLS.

More importantly, González and Hendrickson have experience working together. Both men coached together at the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders 2.

“Junior and I have worked together on two previous occasions, and he was my first choice once I became the head coach of the Fire,” said Hendrickson. “We have very similar views on how the game should be played and he’s someone that I trust to help implement my philosophy.”

Another expected addition to the coaching staff is Fire legend C.J. Brown. While not official, the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Brian Sandalow did report this story per sources.

Brown played 13 seasons for the Fire from 1998-2010. Brown helped the Fire hoist their first (and to this day only) MLS Cup in 1998, along with four U.S. Open Cup trophies, and made nearly 300 appearances for the club.

The Ring of Fire inductee was last seen on the touchlines of SeatGeek Stadium where he was head coach for NISA Expansion side Chicago House. Brown did a good job in his first professional head coaching gig, leading the newest member of the third-division league to a respectable sixth-place finish.

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Lead soccer reporter at On Tap. I write about the Cubs and Bulls too. I also write a sports business newsletter @SportDollars. You can follow me on Twitter @just_wasik. West Ham fan.

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