BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – As the search for a new head coach gathers pace, rising star Harry Shipp has suggested the Chicago Fire should be focused on finding a thorough, “detail-oriented” head coach to take the club to “the next level.”
With newly-appointed general manager Nelson Rodriguez set to assume his role with the Fire on Monday, his first priority will be appointing a new head coach following the dismissal of Frank Yallop on September 20.
That search, which has been under way since Yallop’s departure, is expected to be completed as a matter of urgency as the club look to build ahead of the 2016 season. The likes of Mike Magee, Matt Watson and Ty Harden will be out of contract at the end of the season, and options must be exercised or declined on many other players.
Technical director Brian Bliss has taken the reins on an interim basis, and after an impressive first victory against the New England Revolution last time out, a strong finish to the season could make him a possible contender. Reports out of Mexico have also linked former Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera to the position, and Herrera said earlier this month he would not rule out the opportunity but has not heard from the Fire either.
“I have no idea in terms of individual names, but I think you see it in the last couple of weeks, someone detail-oriented in terms of preparation and execution,” Shipp told MLSsoccer.com recently.
“I think little details is something we lacked the past couple of years, and someone who is focused on details – and focused on getting guys to execute those little details – is something that I think is going to take this club to the next level.”
Shipp cited the lack of those “little details” as something that was missing in his first two years at the club.
“I don’t think anyone here was happy with the results and it’s unfortunate a lot of the times the coach gets blamed for players, but I think both sides had a hand in it,” added the Homegrown product. “Put the results aside, I don’t necessarily think the process of how we approach games week-in and week-out was necessarily up to a standard that I think is acceptable for this club, and hopefully the rest of the team think that too.”
The 23-year-old has noticed a change in atmosphere and attitude since Bliss’ appointment, with players eager to impress and force their way into his plans, in the short term at least.
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“Going forward, even the past couple of weeks, I think you see guys with a little bit of a new life, in practice people have a little more energy,” Shipp added. “When you get stuck in the same rut for a year and a half to two years I think it takes a little bit of action to get out of that stale environment.”
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson called Yallop’s dismissal a “business decision,” but took the opportunity to wish a “fantastic individual” the best for the future.
“Obviously it was a business decision and we as players try to do the best we can on the field, every single day,” Johnson told MLSsoccer.com. “No matter who’s in that position, whether it’s Yallop or it’s Blissy, we have to give 100 percent. I wish Yallop the best in the future, he’s a fantastic individual so I definitely wish the best for him going forward.
“We still have two games left in the season, so we’re doing all we can to finish the season on a positive note. That’s the most important thing now. And then after that, building towards next year.”