Chicago Fire FC hire Georg Heitz as new sporting director

Georg Heitz - Chicago SD - close up

Chicago Fire FC have officially hired a new sporting director, announcing the appointment of Georg Heitz on Friday.

Heitz had been linked to the club as an interview candidate for the role by multiple outlets in recent days, with the Athletic reporting on Wednesday a deal was being finalized ahead of Friday's official announcement. The hire is the latest move in a busy offseason behind the scenes for Chicago, which parted ways with head coach Veljko Paunovic last month and saw former general manager Nelson Rodriguez shift to a purely business role.

Heitz will take over player acquisition and scouting for the club, as well as oversee the coaching and technical staff and youth development programs.

"I'm honored to join Chicago Fire FC," Heitz said in a club release. "I made the decision to join the club after many inspiring discussions with [owner] Joe Mansueto and Nelson Rodriguez. I believe in the vision of this club. I am very much looking forward to living in Chicago and I can't wait to get started."

Heitz, 50, has a lengthy background as an executive in the sport. He most recently held the same role for Swiss club FC Basel for nine seasons between 2009-17, helping establish the side as a powerhouse that won eight league titles and three Swiss Cups. During his tenure, Basel also appeared in the UEFA Champions League six times and made the round of 16 twice in 2012 and 2014.