Klopas looks to put his own mark on Chicago staff

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Frank Klopas might be bringing a few new faces to the Chicago Fire bench next year.

Klopas – who was named full-time head coach on Nov. 3 after spending five months as interim head coach – told MLSsoccer.com last week that he’s considering hiring some new assistant coaches for the 2012 season.

“I’m in this role for the first time so I want to have the opportunity to speak to some people, which is only the right thing to do,” Klopas said. “I want to make some decisions based on what my needs are and what I probably would want.”

Chicago’s 2011 staff included first assistant Leo Percovich, assistant Larry Sunderland, goalkeeper coach Aron Hyde and strength and conditioning coach Tony Jouaux. All but Sunderland were brought in while former head coach Carlos de los Cobos was in charge, but all survived his May firing, staying on under Klopas for the remainder of the season.

“I came in and I felt that it was the right thing to keep things in place [after de los Cobos’ dismissal],” Klopas said. “We had made a lot of changes, and I didn’t think we needed to make any more at the time.”

Klopas likely won't be prioritizing that same sense of continuity with his staff this offseason. Owner Andrew Hauptman told reporters at Klopas’ introductory press conference that the head coach would have full autonomy to pick and choose his own coaching staff.

“The only thing I can say is that the guys we have here work very hard and we’ll take that into account,” Klopas said. “But I came into a situation where the people here were already in place and I wanted to continue to give continuity to that. But being in the situation for the first time [this winter], it’s important for me to reach out to some different people and speak to them and pick their brains.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com