The Chicago Fire became the second Eastern Conference club to hire a new head coach on Wednesday in what the club hopes is a spark for 2022 and beyond.
Ezra Hendrickson was announced as the new head coach of the Fire, bringing roughly 12 years of coaching experience to the club. Hendrickson, a former MLS player with the L.A. Galaxy, Chivas USA, and the Columbus Crew, will embark on his first head coaching position in the league.
“I am immensely proud and humbled to be named the head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” said Hendrickson in a statement. “There are many people to thank. Firstly, I am grateful to our owner Joe Mansueto for this incredible opportunity. It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly. Georg Heitz, Sebastian Pelzer and Eddie Rock have also been supportive throughout this process, and I am excited to work alongside them as colleagues. We must be a team in order to achieve our goals.”
A native of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the 49-year-old comes to the Fire after most recently serving as an assistant coach with the Crew from 2019-21. He’s also served as an assistant coach with the L.A. Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, while also being the head coach of Sounders 2 in the USL from 2014-18.
In addition to working with the Sounders, Hendrickson served as an assistant coach for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying 2015-18.
As a player, Hendrickson won eight trophies during 12 MLS seasons, including three MLS Cups with three different clubs. He also lifted three Supporters’ Shield trophies, one U.S. Open Cup, and one Concacaf Champions’ Cup.
The Fire missed out on postseason play for the fourth-straight season, totaling 34 points in 34 matches.