In a 34 word statement on Saturday, the Chicago Fire have announced that Vice President of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei will not be returning to the club for next season. With Javier Leon getting canned in November along with almost everyone else on the technical staff, it is not a surprise to see Guillermo sent packing.
What is a little surprising is how long after Javier's dismissal it took the Fire to get around to Petrei. Hot Time In Old Town founder Tweed Thorton and other members of the media spoke with Andrew Hauptman back in 2012 around the time Petrei was hired. Judging from Tweed's article, it sounded like Petrei was on staff solely because of Javier.
When the group asked Hauptman where Petrei came from, Andrew let us know that Petrei has actually been a resource for Javier Leon for awhile now. Petrei had been living in Los Angeles and was somewhat of a consultant. However, Petrei will be based in Chicago and is moving to the Windy City for the new job.
It is not exactly clear why Petrei was let go now, but, for as shadowy of a figure as Petrei was, he was given credit for a couple of big things during his time with the club that might be worth mentioning.
According to an interview Javier Leon gave to Hot Time in the summer of 2012, he was apparently instrumental in setting up the Fire's partnership with Athletico Madrid:
As far as moving forward, one of the things that Guillermo [Petrei] has put together that I think is going to be very beneficial, again with Andrew’s support, is the relationship with Atlético Madrid. We hired a guy [Rafael Carmona] that is going to come in and work. He was in charge of the methodology for youth development at Atlético Madrid. After Barcelona, they are known for having one of the best youth development systems in Spain.
From November 20th to December 6th, Dilly Duka and Victor Pineda trained with Athletico Madrid. Perhaps, if Petrei was one of our main connections with Athletico, he stayed on staff until now to wrap up any administrative duties related to the training stint. Perhaps Frank Yallop was actually considering keeping Petrei on staff.
If Petrei was important to the relationship between the Fire and Athletico Madrid, it will be interesting to see what happens to that relationship in the coming years. Over the course of the next week or more, Frank Yallop plans to visit Athletico Madrid, so it appears that the relationship might live on post-Petrei.
On top of the Athletico Madrid partnership, Javier gave Petrei some of the credit for the Fire drafting Austin Berry the 2012 Rookie of the Year:
I think we were number nine this year and were able to select Austin Berry. It was a great selection. One of the guys that made a critical contribution in that process is Guillermo Petrei. One of the things that we had never done before is a rigorous interview process of all the players that we ranked highly. It became clear that Austin was a guy that was ready to come in and ready to play.
Guillermo Petrei was pretty much the last holdover from the previous regime on the Fire technical staff. His dismissal is likely the last of the purge.
Guillermo, if you are out there somewhere, we here at Hot Time thank you for Austin Berry and the Athletico Madrid partnership. Best of luck in whatever future dark places you decide to lurk in.