Chicago Fire Football Club have officially announced that Ezra Hendrickson will be the next manager of the club. Hendrickson is the 10th full-time head coach in team history.
After initial reports from Patrick McCraney, On Tap Sports Net reported the Fire were set on appointing Hendrickson as the club's next head coach as early as last week. Now, that report has come to fruition.
“I am immensely proud and humbled to be named the head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” said Hendrickson. “There are many people to thank. Firstly, I am grateful to our owner Joe Mansueto for this incredible opportunity. It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly. Georg Heitz, Sebastian Pelzer, and Eddie Rock have also been supportive throughout this process, and I am excited to work alongside them as colleagues. We must be a team in order to achieve our goals.”
Can Hendrickson Turn the Fire Around?
Owner Joe Mansueto and Sporting Director Georg Heitz hope so as the latter's job most certainly depends on it.
The Fire have only made the playoffs twice in the past 10 seasons and have not won a playoff game in over 12 years. And after winning five trophies in its first nine seasons, the Fire are trophy-less in the last 15 seasons overall.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Ezra to the Club as our new head coach,” said Sporting Director Georg Heitz. “He is a very well-respected coach who has had a highly successful career in MLS. Ezra has worked in winning environments alongside some of the most accomplished managers in the league, and we are confident that he is the right person to help us achieve our goals. I look forward to beginning our work together during what will be an important offseason for the Club.”
What Hendrickson Brings
Quite simply, Hendrickson brings a wealth of MLS experience. He made over 260 appearances in MLS as a player, winning eight trophies in 12 MLS seasons, including three MLS Cups.
While he has yet to manage an MLS game, Hendrickson coached at the USL level with Seattle Sounders II (2015-17). He was also an assistant in the Sounders organization under coach Sigi Schmid from 2009-2014.
Hendrickson's most recent stop was as an assistant for the Columbus Crew under coach Caleb Porter. Hendrickson helped the Crew win the 2019 MLS Cup.
“To the Fire faithful, I know that we have a great deal of work ahead of us to get the Club back to its days of MLS dominance,” said Hendrickson. “It will not be easy, but I know that your continued support of our Club will be necessary and appreciated by myself, the players and the staff.
"I’m a big believer that a team’s identity should align with the reputation of the city it represents," continued Hendrickson. "When I think of Chicago, I think of hardworking, successful people and that is the identity this team will adopt. We will always give you our best efforts and make you proud to wear the Fire colors.”