The Chicago Fire has agreed terms with Columbus Crew assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson to become the team’s next manager sources have confirmed to ESPN.
Chicago-based outlet Hot Time in Old Town was the first to report on the Fire’s intentions to hire Hendrickson. One source cautioned that Hendrickson hasn’t yet signed a contract with the Fire.
The Fire had been without a manager since firing Raphael Wicky back on Sept. 30. Chicago finished the season in 12th place in the 14-team Eastern Conference, 14 points outside the seventh and final playoff place. The 2021 campaign marked the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Fire failed to reach the postseason.
Sources tell ESPN that Hendrickson has agreed to a two-year deal with an additional option year. Hendrickson hopes to bring current FC Cincinnati interim manager Tyrone Marshall with him to Chicago, and intends to keep interim manager Frank Klopas and goalkeeper coach Adin Brown on his staff.
Hendrickson, 49, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, had a lengthy, 13-year apprenticeship following a 15-yeaer playing career. He first worked as an assistant with the Seattle Sounders starting in 2009, and later as manager of Seattle’s reserve team. He also served as an assistant to St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ men’s national team. He spent a solitary season as an assistant with the LA Galaxy before moving to Columbus to join Caleb Porter’s staff ahead of the 2019 season.
As a player, Hendrickson spent the bulk of his career with the LA Galaxy, where he played from 1997-2003. He was also spent time in MLS with the MetroStars (the precursor of the New York Red Bulls), the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas), D.C. United, Chivas USA and the Columbus Crew. All told he made 298 MLS league and playoff appearances with 28 goals and 33 assist.
At international level, Hendrickson made 36 appearances for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.