Chicago Fire FC hires Ezra Hendrickson as new head coach

Columbus Crew temporary head coach Ezra Hendrickson talks to midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) after a loss against the New York Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium.
Alexandria Skowronski-USA TODAY Sports/File

Vincentian Ezra Hendrickson has been hired as Chicago Fire FC’s new head coach, the club announced last Wednesday.

The Athletic reported last week that Chicago and Hendrickson were working out a deal.

Prior to Chicago, Hendrickson was an assistant coach for the Columbus Crew and a longtime Major League Soccer (MLS) assistant, the Athletic said.

He also had a 15-year playing career, it said.

“I am immensely proud and humbled to be named the head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” said Hendrickson in a statement. “There are many people to thank.

“Firstly, I am grateful to our owner Joe Mansueto for this incredible opportunity,” he added. “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,” Hendrickson continued. “We must be a team in order to achieve our goals.”

In his 15-year playing career, Henderson spent the most time with the Los Angeles Galaxy — from 1997-2003, the Athletic said.

It said Hendrickson’s coaching career began in 2009 with Seattle Sounders FC before eventually joining Columbus as an assistant in 2019.

The Fire dismissed former head coach Raphael Wicky in September, naming assistant coach Frank Klopas as the interim head coach, “as they searched for Wicky’s replacement,” the Athletics said.

It said Wicky was in his second season at the helm.

The Athletics said Chicago finished the season 12th in the 14-team Eastern Conference, 14 points outside the seventh and final playoff place.

“It hasn’t reached the postseason in eight of the last nine seasons,” the Athletic said.

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