The Chicago Fire announced Tuesday that they have partnered with Spanish club Atlético Madrid, Mexican giants Club América, Brazilian power SC Internacional and four other teams around the globe in a strategic alliance to better the club’s sporting and commercial practices.
The alliance will likely impact the first team, making it easier for the Fire to loan players to and from their partner clubs while giving the coaching staff more educational opportunities.
“We hope that it does impact the first team in terms of relationships we can establish on a player front and on a coaching front,” Fire director of player personnel Mike Jeffries told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “I do think that there are possibilities that it’ll have a positive impact on the first team.”
Other MLS clubs have seen partnerships with foreign teams pay dividends on the field. The San Jose Earthquakes have leveraged their partnership with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur to secure attacker Simon Dawkins on loan this past offseason.
“It opens up potential for those kinds of moves,” Jeffries said. “I think it’s going to be one of those where it requires a fair amount of work from all parties to get the most out of the relationships, but it is certainly meant to be more than just a commercial partnership.”
The Fire are also excited about the learning opportunities the alliance will give the coaching staff. The club’s technical staff has observed foreign clubs in the past – former manager Bob Bradley and staff used their relationship with former player Hristo Stoichkov to visit Barcelona in 2000 – and Jeffries is hoping to resume that process under the new alliance.
“One of the benefits, if you’re able to set it up, is to be able to spend time with coaching staffs in different leagues in different parts of the world,” Jeffries said. “It’s valuable to see what’s done differently and see how they manage different situations and if they have different ideas. I think it gives you the opportunity to learn something and … those are some of the things that you hope would be possible and really can bring some good things.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.