Just 24 hours after announcing the firing of coach Frank Klopas and president of soccer operations Javier Leon, the Chicago Fire introduced Frank Yallop to replace both.
Yallop will be in charge of player acquisition. He will be the seventh coach for the Fire since its first season in 1998, and the fifth coach since 2007.
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"I wouldn't say it's full control because (owner Andrew Hauptman) obviously runs the club from his point of view, but all player acquisitions will be my decision to bring into the club," Yallop said at Thursday's news conference at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago.
"The squad we have already is a talented team. I'm very excited about that. But everything soccer-wise, yes, I will be making the last decision on those things with help from obviously the staff."
"It shouldn't be lost on anyone that Frank's title is head coach and director of soccer," Hauptman added. "That title speaks for itself. Certainly Frank has all the necessary skills and experience and leadership to be able to take on that responsibility for the on-field product and for the leadership of the soccer program overall."
Yallop said control of player acquisition was a key factor in him coming to Chicago.
"That was something I was looking for," he said. "That's something I am really very, very excited about. I think it's what Andrew was looking for also."
Yallop, 49, resigned as San Jose coach in June.
Hauptman said Yallop has "proven his ability to identify talent" and added the club needed to improve its "hit rate" on signing international players, especially high-priced designated players. The Fire has defensive midfielder Arevalo Rios and forward Juan Luis Anangono as DPs now. Anangono scored twice in 13 matches since joining the team in August.
Yallop has a 117-107-84 record in 11 seasons as an MLS coach, fifth most in MLS history. He is a two-time MLS Coach of the Year and has won two MLS Cup titles.
Yallop said the Fire will play a different style of soccer than his San Jose clubs.
"It won't be a longball, hoof-it-up-the-field system. ... I like pretty soccer too," he said.
His Chicago style will be more tailored to his roster.
"I adjust to the players I have," Yallop said. " ... This roster, it's more set up to play. If you look at the teams I've had over the years, my first team in San Jose, it was a very good footballing team. They moved the ball very well."
Hauptman noted with regret the firing of Leon and Klopas, who had been with him since he acquired the team in 2007.
"The week has been tinged with some sadness for me," Hauptman said. "I'm also incredibly, incredibly excited to be welcoming Frank Yallop as the new head coach of the Chicago Fire soccer club. I have just an enormous amount of respect for him."
Yallop, who has a lot of family in the Vancouver area, had been expected to replace Martin Rennie as Whitecaps coach. But the Fire's swift and decisive action persuaded him to come to Chicago, he said. He is expected to hold his first training session with his new players next week.
The Fire ended the regular season Sunday in New York with a 5-2 loss that eliminated the club from playoff consideration. The Fire has missed the playoffs three of the past four seasons.
"It's not something I made on the particular result of this year," Hauptman said of firing Leon and Klopas. "It's more about the body of work. I felt like after six years, near six years of leadership from the team that had been in place, it was a natural time for a change. It made sense, and I feel like I had been patient through that period."
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