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Yallop: Fire "Looking Forward To First Game"

New head coach favors high pressure, direct attacking play, will play young players "if they're good enough"

(thanks to Jeff Crandall and the Chicago Fire for the above content)

It's clear, some 12 days into this preseason, that new Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop has a growing sense where he wants to go this season: It's all pressure, all around - pressure on the players to produce, pressure on the opposition to recover the ball, pressure on the technical staff (coaches and players) to provide some breathing space for the occasional thumb-fingered public-relations imbroglio.

In the second of his weekly conference calls with the media, Yallop was forthright but less folksy than his previous chat-arounds; speaking quickly and without seeming calculation, the newly-minted American revealed his intentions and his excitement at a possible youth revolution in the Fire midfield before turning the mic over to new coach Clint Mathis for a few questions.

"I want to win the ball up the pitch, close to the opponents' goal," Yallop said. "Do I like possession? Sure, in the opposition half. Possession in the defensive end, eh, that's less important." The Ipswich Town legend went on to briefly sketch his basic tactical vision for the team - high pressure, a high back line; an emphasis on intelligent movemen, directness, and solving problems as a group; togetherness and compactness as the key components to control the ball and the game.

More from the media scrum
  • "Early cuts, a lot of times, are guys who don't have a chance to make the roster positionally," Yallop said of the players who will fall off the roster in the next few days. "They have just too many guys ahead of them, and when its a situation like that, I like to give them a chance to catch on somewhere else."
  • Yallop: "We are looking forward to the first game, to be honest. It's so very very early in preparations, not just new team but new staff as well, but it seems to be going very well."
  • Yallop again: "I love playing young players if they're good enough, and ready for the challenge. I always hold myself back from saying they're going to be breakout players and stuff like that - but there's some really talented guys here. ... You talk about Harry Shipp and Victor [Pineda], they're players who want the ball and who can do different things with the ball, and its just a matter of getting out in a game and doing it in a game."
  • Yallop on new acquisition (and San Jose academy product) Benji Joya: "I didn't see that much of him, was just very young when I was at San Jose. It looks like he plays number 8 -  two-way midfield - gets around the ball, gets the ball around. His pedigree's good. We're excited to have him, and looking forward to seeing what he has."
  • Finally, new coach Clint Mathis talked about what he hopes to bring: "Hopefully, I inspired them a little bit as a player. They know that I was a guy who was playing not that long ago, I know the good parts and the bad parts of the job, and I've been there when things are going good and when they're not so good. And, y'know, I know about dealing with the media, things like that, that go along with the job."