The Chicago Fire announced the hiring of Frank Yallop as their new head coach and director of soccer on Thursday morning, one day after Frank Klopas and Javier Leon left similar positions at the club.
The news marks a swift return to MLS for Yallop, who departed the San Jose Earthquakes on June 7 amid that team's early-season struggles. He steered the Quakes to the Supporters' Shield last season, however, with an MLS-best record of 19-6-9, and earned his second MLS Coach of the Year award.
“In this league, it’s all about competing and winning at a consistent level,” Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman said in a club statement. “Frank is a proven winner with a tremendous soccer pedigree as both a player and as a coach. He has won at the MLS level and coached on the interational stage. I look forward to him bringing his expertise to Chicago, not to mention a championship, as he has done in the past.”
An England-born Canadian international, Yallop brings vast experience to the Fire job. He led the Earthquakes to MLS Cup championships in 2001 and 2003, earning his first MLS Coach of the Year honors in 2001.
He coached the LA Galaxy from June 2006 through the tumultuous 2007 campaign at the dawn of the David Beckham era, and also led the Canadian national team from 2004 to 2006.
In Chicago, he'll take over a team with talent, but one that missed out on returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 loss at New York.
“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to join the Chicago Fire Soccer Club,” Yallop said in a statement. “The Fire has a rich tradition, great core of talent, and committed, forward-thinking leadership. I can’t wait to get to work with the Men in Red.”
Yallop was strongly linked to the vacant Vancouver Whitecaps head coaching post earlier this week, but will now lead Chicago's next round of renewal instead.