It’s now official: Chicago Fire boss Ezra Hendrickson has hired Ring of Fire member CJ Brown as an assistant coach.
Brown joins an already experienced staff, with Junior Gonzalez, Frank Klopas, and Adin Brown also on board.
“I am truly honored to be back with Chicago Fire and a part of Ezra Hendrickson’s coaching staff,” CJ Brown said in a statement announcing his hire. “I am excited for Ezra. I know he has been working hard for this moment in his career. I am grateful to be a part of this journey with Ezra and the team. I will do all that I can to live out the Tradition, Honor, and Passion of this Club.”
Hendrickson said Brown will play “a key role in the development of our young players.” Brown joins the Fire from Chicago House AC, where he was technical director and head coach during the NISA club’s inaugural campaign. This leaves big questions about the future of Chicago House, which has been forced to furlough staff. Club president and CEO Peter Wilt addressed that in a recent interview with Protagonist Soccer.
“In January, next month, we’re going to revisit that and see who it makes sense to bring back and see who it doesn’t. And then perhaps bring in some new staff members that weren’t on board last year in a context that will better fit our overhead model going to 2022,” Wilt told Protagonist Soccer.
Prior to his job at Chicago House, Brown spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach in MLS, working with Real Salt Lake (2011-13), the Fire (2014), New York City FC (2015), Orlando City SC (2016-18) and the New York Red Bulls (2018-20). Additionally, earlier this year Brown served as an assistant coach for the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.