Chicago Fire interim head coach Brian Bliss open to keeping post on full-time basis

Chicago Fire homegrown Patrick Doody and technical director Brian Bliss

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — With his future at the Chicago Fire still in the balance, interim head coach Brian Bliss believes he has what it takes to lead the Men in Red forward – in whatever capacity the club decides.

Whether serving as full-time head coach or continuing on in the technical-director role he has filled since his December 2013 arrival from Columbus Crew SC, Bliss believes he has much to offer the Fire.

Newly appointed general manager Nelson Rodriguez began his tenure on Monday and has already begun the process of finding the right man to turn the club’s fortunes around as what is already the club’s worst season in MLS winds concludes this week.

Bliss, who has also occupied the interim head-coach role at the Kansas City Wizards (2006) and the Crew (2013), has admitted that while he does have an “appetite to coach” he is also happy to continue in the role he came to Chicago to do. 

“I’ve always said to the club if they see me in that capacity, I’m more than willing to do it,” Bliss told when asked if he would be interested in the head coaching position full-time. “But if they see me remaining in the technical director’s position, I’m also happy to do that. I came up here from Columbus to do the technical director’s job, and my mind hasn’t really changed in that regard.

“I do have an appetite to coach and know the risks involved, and I’m willing to assume those as well. But if the club sees it differently then I’m OK with that too because it’s not really what I came up here to do. I feel comfortable in both roles and can do both.” 

Bliss’ approach to daily training has been markedly different to sessions under previous head coach Frank Yallop with more of a focus on game-related drills. That dynamic style, coupled with a willingness to communicate with and inform his players, could make him a viable contender in Rodriguez’s eyes.

“I think I’m very hands on; I would say I’m an information giver on the teaching side of it,” Bliss said via Tuesday’s media teleconference. “My trainings are more game related, or as close to game related as possible, with those goal moments of teaching. I also believe that I work with a hard hand, but I would say it’s a fair hand.

“I think that type of leadership is what’s needed right now and looking in the positive direction and not always dwelling on the past or what may be wrong with the club,” he added. “You can’t ignore those things, but I’m certainly not somebody that accentuates those things. I like to say I coach from a positive standpoint and not a negative, and I think that’s what’s needed.”

Bliss’ 1-3-0 record in his first four games may not completely reflect Bliss' vision, despite what could be considered solid performances, and Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at D.C. United was certainly his biggest setback since his appointment on Sept. 20. He has one more opportunity to improve on that and potentially deny the New York Red Bulls the Supporters’ Shield in the Fire’s final game of the season Sunday (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

That said, he’s in no rush to iron out his future and looks forward to discussing his role once Rodriguez settles into his new post.

“I’m sure when he gets on board full-time, there will be further discussion about my situation and what role and capacity I’ll be in,” Bliss added.