New Chicago Fire boss Ezra Hendrickson is busy filling out his coaching staff, bringing in Junior Gonzalez as an assistant coach, the club announced today. Gonzalez previously worked alongside Hendrickson at LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders 2.
Additionally, the Fire appear close to announcing the hire of club legend CJ Brown as an assistant—a move that was first reported by Brian Sandalow of the Chicago Sun-Times. Brown spent last season coaching the NISA side Chicago House.
Frank Klopas and goalkeeper coach Adin Brown will both return, too. Klopas spent the fall as interim head coach after the dismissal of Raphael Wicky, and as goalkeeper coach, Adin Brown has been instrumental toward the development of Gabriel Slonina.
As for Gonzalez, he brings more than 20 years of coaching experience to Hendrickson’s staff.
“Junior and I have worked together on two previous occasions, and he was my first choice once I became the head coach of the Fire,” Hendrickson said in a statement. “We have very similar views on how the game should be played and he’s someone that I trust to help implement my philosophy. With his addition, along with the return of Frank Klopas and Adin Brown, we’re close to finalizing the coaching staff for next season.”
Gonzalez, 44, joins the Fire after spending the last two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship.
“It is an exciting time to be joining the Chicago Fire FC project,” Gonzalez said in a press release announcing his hire. “I’m looking forward to working alongside such a diverse and qualified technical staff to prepare this team to compete in the upcoming season. Chicago has such a rich soccer tradition with so many diverse communities represented. I am honored and humbled to be a part of this organization and will work relentlessly to help implement the Club’s vision moving forward.”