Ezra Hendrickson will now try to do something no coach has done since Bob Bradley more than two decades ago—lead the Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup victory.
Hot Time in Old Town first broke the news of Hendrickson’s hire last week, and the club made it official today, signing the 49-year-old to a two year contract, with an option on a third year.
“I am immensely proud and humbled to be named the head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” Hendrickson said in a news release announcing his hire. “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.”
Hendrickson has spent 25 years in Major League Soccer—12 as a player, and 13 as a coach. He spent the last few seasons as an assistant under Caleb Porter at the Columbus Crew, where he helped the club lift the 2020 MLS Cup, and the 2021 Campeones Cup. He’s seen around the league as a guy who’s well overdue for a shot as a head coach.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Ezra to the Club as our new head coach,” 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. I look forward to beginning our work together during what will be an important offseason for the Club.”
Now, the focus turns to the Fire’s roster, which has several holes heading into the 2022 season. With the departure of Robert Beric, the Fire will have at least one Designated Player opening, and could have as many as three, depending on what happens with Gaston Gimenez and Ignacio Aliseda. There are several other spots to fill, too. Hendrickson’s MLS experience and connections should help the Fire bring in some more veteran experience to balance out a very young roster.