The Chicago Fire have hired Frank Yallop as head coach and director of soccer, giving him complete control of the club. The move comes one day after parting ways with Frank Klopas and Javier Leon, the former decision-making team at Toyota Park who fell short of expectations when they failed to make the playoffs this year.
Yallop comes to Chicago from the San Jose Earthquakes, where he won the Supporters' Shield in 2012, but a slow start to this season saw him leave the club in June. It was Yallop's second stint in San Jose, having won MLS Cup twice with the Earthquakes before becoming the Canada manager. After failing to qualify them for the World Cup, Yallop had an unsuccessful stint managing the LA Galaxy before returning to San Jose, where he stayed for four and a half years.
The Chicago job will be different for Yallop because he is being given total control of the soccer side, making him responsible for assembling the front office and acquiring players, as well as coaching the team. He will have some tough decisions to make, too. The Fire are an older team, so Yallop will have to believe that the aging roster can still be improved or tear the it apart and rebuild with a younger, more sustainable group of players.
It is a safe bet that Sean Johnson and Austin Berry will still be around next year and that Yallop will build a team capable of playing his favored 4-4-2. Besides that, only Yallop knows what the Fire will look like next year. It's a new era at Toyota Park.