Windy City Return for Hyde

Goalkeeping coach discusses new role, 2010 season


As draftees and trialists spent time over the last six weeks
looking to impress the Fire coaching staff enough for a roster spot, so did
Aron Hyde, the club’s new Goalkeeping Coach. His work with the Fire’s three
goalkeepers during the club’s six week, four stop tour was enough for him to be
named to the position on March 1.

Hailing from Birmingham, England, the 27-year-old played for
Judson University in Elgin from 2002-04, helping the Eagles to the NCCAA
national championship his first year there, tallying up a 64-9-1 record over
his three years between the sticks.

It was during his college years that Hyde had a training
stint with the team he’s now coaching. He’s also trained with English clubs,
Fulham FC, Millwall, Walsall and Wycombe Wanderers, but took up coaching after
hanging up his playing boots, taking his license courses while working as an
assistant first for Seattle University men’s and women’s teams, before spending
last season at the University of Washington.

After spending a number of years in the Pacific northwest,
and a number of weeks on the club’s preseason tour, Hyde’s happy to be settled
back in Chicago.

“I obviously have some experience here,” said Hyde. “I was
auditioning for my job [during preseason] but there wasn’t that much pressure
because I’d talked to a number of people regarding the goalkeeping situation
and so the transition was smooth. I have a good feel for the keepers here
and we’ve built up a good rapport.”

At 27, Hyde is one of the younger coaches in all of Major
League Soccer – though still more senior than the Fire’s goalkeeping corps --
Andrew Dykstra, 24, and Sean Johnson, 20.

 “Aron’s been
great,” said Dykstra. “He’s young but he came to the team with a lot of
experience coaching the position. He’s pushed both of us very hard but he knows
what he’s doing and I would say we have a great working relationship.”

As far as Dykstra’s performance in preseason, Hyde was
impressed with the second-year player’s work ethic, especially after suffering an
injury early.

“Andrew was a little slow to get going in preseason because
he picked up a knock soon after we arrived in Arizona. We sent him back here to
rehab while we went to Mexico, giving him some cardio work to do while away.
The whole situation was the best thing for him because he was still working
hard while rehabbing and came back into camp ten days later as sharp as ever.”

Though losing against New York in his first MLS appearance,
the goalkeeping coach is confident in his new number one keeper.

“He could have been rattled early with the back pass that he
played out for a corner, but he recovered well and looked confident in the
goal. The goal they scored was well-taken and no one found him at fault for it.
As a debut, it was a good performance to build off of and we expect he’ll
continue to improve through the season.”

When it comes to the goalkeeping position, Hyde is bullish
about the subject as it relates to American keepers. An Aston Villa supporter,
he’s happy to have both Brads, Friedel and Guzan, backstopping the Villains the
last two seasons.

“Goalkeeping is the one position where this country has done
a great job in continuously producing quality players. The play of guys like
Friedel, Guzan, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann, has given this
country a great reputation of producing at this position and I think a lot of
it has to do with American emphasis on athleticism, with kids playing a number
of different sports that require good hand-eye coordination.”

Hyde has been back at work with his keepers this week, preparing both Dykstra
and Johnson for Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Colorado Rapids, at 3 pm CT
live on Telefutura.