The Chicago Fire named Ezra Hendrickson as the MLS franchise’s 10th full-time head coach on Wednesday.
Most recently an assistant coach with the 2020 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew, Hendrickson brings more than 25 years of experience in the league as a coach and player that includes winning 15 major trophies.
Hendrickson, 49, replaces Raphael Wicky, who was fired on Sept. 30 after a 7-15-6 start to the 2021 season. Frank Klopas closed out the season as the interim coach as the Fire (9-18-7, 34 points) missed the playoffs for the fourth straight campaign.
“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,” Hendrickson said in a news release. “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. 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.”
“Becoming a head coach in MLS had been a goal of his and I am happy that he has earned this opportunity.”
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) November 24, 2021
Lengthy MLS Resume
Before working as the lead assistant for Columbus from 2019-21, Hendrickson was on the Seattle Sounders’ staff from 2009-14 — a stretch that included four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles and the 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield. He was head coach of Seattle’s USL Championship affiliate from 2015-17. He was an assistant with the LA Galaxy in 2018.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Ezra to the Club as our new head coach,” Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz said in a news release. “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.”
A native of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Hendrickson won eight trophies while playing 12 MLS seasons (1997-2008) as a defender. He was a three-time MLS champion with the Galaxy (2002), D.C. United (2004) and Columbus (2008).
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)