On Thursday morning, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman introduced veteran coach Frank Yallop as the newest hire for the Fire organization during a press conference at the historic Blackstone Hotel. Yallop, last seen with the San Jose Earthquakes, will take over not only the position of head coach, but Director of Soccer as well. This will give Yallop full authority not only in on-field matters, but also player scouting, acquisition and development as well.
"I feel that with my experience in the league, and with my coaching over the years, I've learned a lot. I feel that the player decisions that I'm going to have impact me on the field is not anybody else's decision." Yallop said.
That experience has served Yallop well over the years. In his first year as a head coach in MLS, he took the San Jose Earthquakes to an MLS Cup victory over the LA Galaxy, as well as earning coach of the year. In 2003, beat the Chicago Fire 4-2 for his second MLS Cup.
Part of his job as Director of Soccer will be to revamp the scouting system of the club, one that has had a slew of high profile misses in recent years. Yallop addressed these failings, saying, "Scouting is a big big part of MLS now. The best teams have a very expansive scouting system, and we'll get right on that to make sure we don't miss anybody."
"One of the reasons, for me, I'm having Frank in this role, and I'm so excited about it," Hauptman enthused, "is that he's proven that he can Identify talent within financial parameters that have been, if you will, more constrained, than with the Fire."
Yallop revealed that having both positions was something he was looking for in his next coaching appointment.
"In the end, the final decision on who we get into the club will be [mine], and that was something I was looking for. I think that is something I'm very excited about," Yallop said.
The decision to hire Yallop was made quickly. It was reported that the now former head coach, Frank Klopas, and Andrew Hauptman had dinner Tuesday night, and rumors about Yallop's hiring were circulating parallel to the official announcement of Klopas being let go. "It was very swift. And in some ways we were blessed to be able to make the decision as quickly as possible, and to be in a position to have a seamless transition," Andrew said.
When asked about the way his Earthquake teams played route-one football, Yallop responded, "I like pretty soccer, too," which induced scattered chuckling from the press. Yallop's vision is to play a fast, up-tempo style, keeping his team on the front foot and the opposing defense on their heels. He is also planning to evaluate the academy structure and to meet with academy staff to revamp the academy system.
Yallop is still currently in the bay area, but is expected to relocate to Chicago by next week, when he will hold his first scheduled practice with his new team.