Ezra Hendrickson CLB

Chicago Fire FC are in discussions to hire Columbus Crew assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson as their next head coach, a source confirmed to MLSsoccer.com.

The news was first reported Wednesday evening by Patrick McCraney of SB Nation site Hot Time In Old Town.

While the deal isn’t finalized, a source indicated that it’s trending toward the 49-year-old taking over Chicago after a lengthy run on MLS sidelines. He’s been an assistant with the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Crew, working with highly-respected coaches like Sigi Schmid, Brian Schmezter and Caleb Porter along the way.

Chicago’s opening arose on Sept. 30 after the club parted ways with Raphael Wicky, with the Swiss coach originally tabbed ahead of the 2020 campaign. Assistant coach Frank Klopas led them on an interim basis to close out 2021, though the Eastern Conference side missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the fourth straight season.

The Fire were intent upon hiring a manager with MLS or Liga MX experience, and Hendrickson checks that box. The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines native played in 266 MLS games across 1997-2008 before embarking on his coaching career. He also earned 123 caps on the international circuit.

Aside from his time as an MLS assistant, Hendrickson previously led the Sounders’ reserve team from 2015-17. He was part of Porter’s MLS Cup-winning staff in 2020 and one that won a Supporters’ Shield (2014) and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2009-11, 2014) in Seattle.

Chicago are entering a pivotal offseason, one where they could have several Designated Player spots to work with. They also boast a youthful core that includes U22 Initiative signing Jhon Jader Duran, defensive midfielder Federico Navarro and key homegrowns Gabriel SloninaBrian Gutierrez and Mauricio Pineda.

Should Hendrickson leave Columbus, he'd be their second technical department departure in several weeks. Pat Onstad was named Houston Dynamo FC's next general manager on November 1 after being the Crew's technical director and vice president of soccer operations.

Midseason, Atlanta United's head coach opening was similarly filled by a well-regarded assistant when Gonzalo Pineda joined from Seattle.