The Fire have turned to a familiar name to help new coach Raphael Wicky. And perhaps they’re getting closer to filling out their roster.
On Tuesday, the Fire hired Frank Klopas as an assistant coach. Klopas, 53, has served in multiple capacities with the Fire. He finished his playing career with the Fire and was part of the 1998 MLS Cup/U.S. Open Cup champions. After retiring, he was an assistant coach (2000), technical director (2008-11), head coach (2011-13) and broadcaster (2016-19).
Klopas also spent most of two seasons coaching the Montreal Impact (2014-15) and led them to the final of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
“My heart has always been with the Fire,” Klopas said in a news release. “I’m honored to join Raphael’s staff, and I’m excited for the future of the club.”
Klopas will provide familiarity to the Fire and MLS as a whole. Wicky and sporting director Georg Heitz haven’t spent much time in MLS and North American soccer. Wicky’s MLS experience consists of five games in 2008 with Chivas USA, and Heitz’s role is his first brush with the league.
Klopas is also a well-known figure in Chicago soccer and popular with fans.
“I’m very pleased to have Frank join our coaching staff,” Wicky said in a news release. “He has been an integral part of the Fire since its very beginning. His passion for the club and his knowledge of the league will be extremely valuable for our staff and players. I look forward to working with him.”
Who will be working with Wicky and Klopas this season is still in question.
With training camp beginning Saturday as players report for medical testing, the Fire have not announced a goalkeeping coach or support staff. Their roster also stands at 16 after the buyout of defender Marcelo on Tuesday.
The Fire, though, have been connected to numerous players from around the world. One example is Saint-Etienne striker Robert Beric, with reports in France linking the 28-year-old to the Fire. Beric has made 20 appearances for the Slovenian national team and could be a replacement for Nemanja Nikolic.
The Fire declined to comment on Beric, who is still under contract with the French first-division club.
Without Klopas and former play-by-play announcer Dan Kelly, the Fire also have two openings in their broadcast booth.