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Chicago Fire officially names Ezra Hendrickson as head coach

The former Crew assistant earns his first Major League Soccer head coaching role.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It was reported last week, but now it’s official. On Wednesday, the Chicago Fire announced the hiring of former Columbus Crew assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson.

Hendrickson joins Columbus’ Major League Soccer rival after three seasons back in the Columbus organization. He joined the Crew in 2019 in an assistant coach under current head coach Caleb Porter. Hendrickson also played for the Black & Gold from 2006-2008, winning an MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield under former head coach Sigi Schmid.

“We want to congratulate Ezra on being named head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the release announcing the move. “When we added Ezra to our First Team coaching staff, we knew that we were getting someone with vast experience who would help prepare our players to succeed and excel on the pitch. As a club, we strive to have the best possible staff, and Ezra’s recent appointment speaks to the quality of his work while with us. We are grateful for Ezra’s services to the Crew and the success he helped bring to our Club over the last three seasons. We know that he will continue to showcase his leadership abilities in Chicago and wish him the best of luck.”

After serving as an assistant coach under Porter for the better part of three seasons, Hendrickson had his first chance to step into a head coaching role in the interim role with Porter’s COVID-19 related absence. In three matches, Hendrickson’s Crew earned four points with a draw against Nashville SC, a home loss to the New York Red Bulls and 3-2 victory against Orlando City SC.

Hendrickson brings an impressive trophy cabinet to the Fire. Since joining the coaching ranks in 2009, Hendrickson’s won a Supporters’ Shield, four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, a Campeones’ Cup and an MLS Cup. His resume is a reason why Columbus has competed for trophies in the past two seasons, and Hendrickson’s move isn’t surprising to leaders within the Crew.

“I would like to thank Ezra for his valuable contributions to the club during his three seasons with us,” Porter said in the release. “Ezra’s impact working with our backline was a key in helping us reach our goals of winning MLS Cup last season and Campeones Cup this year. Becoming a head coach in MLS had been a goal of his and I am happy that he has earned this opportunity. I could not be prouder to have played a part in helping him take the next step in his coaching career and I have no doubt that he will be successful in his new role. I wish him all the best and look forward to our continued friendship.”

Chicago fans will hope for success, something the Fire hasn’t managed in several years. The Fire finished 12th in the Eastern Conference in 2021 with a 9-7-18 record. This caused the firing of former head coach Raphael Wicky in September. Hendrickson replaces Frank Klopas, who ran the team in an interim role.