BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire head coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop had lots of interesting things to say at Friday’s preseason kickoff press conference. One thing that quickly stuck out was the first-year manager’s proximity to finalizing his technical staff with another assistant coach.
“We haven’t quite finished our search if you like for everybody on the staff,” Yallop told reporters. “We’re down the line with some body, we just have to make sure all the things are taken care of."
Earlier this week multiple outlets reported that former U.S. Men’s National Team attacker Clint Mathis was set to become Yallop’s final assistant but the Canadian manager wasn’t willing to confirm who his final staff member would be Friday.
“He’s another good character we’re hoping he’ll join us and then the technical staff will be set for the season,” he said.
Though his staff isn't quite complete, Yallop was joined at the press conference by first assistant coach C.J. Brown and Technical Director Brian Bliss.
Of Bliss he said, “When I came on, the first protocol was getting a good technical director. I’ve known Brian through his playing days, his coaching and his technical director side of things. That position is very important to any club but for us how we’re moving forward, it’s very important to make sure that was done correctly and properly and I think we’ve got a great man in Brian.”
Bliss’s main responsibilities include assisting Yallop in building the roster and making sure the team is cap compliant.
“If need be I can always help Frank and the rest of the staff on the field,” Bliss said. “It’s making sure we’re buttoned down, we have a direction and we’re going about our business.”
Bliss will also head up the club’s domestic and international scouting though he insisted the entire staff has a responsibility in that area.
“They use their resources, I use my resources and that’s some overlap there in terms of agents and people we use to provide us information. Boots on the ground is always good in terms of having people at events. I’m one guy, I can’t be everywhere – we anticipate hiring some others once we get some of the first team stuff shored up.”
“It’s in my nature to identify guys but it falls on Frank and the other assistant coaches to bring players to the forefront.”
First assistant coach C.J. Brown sat to Yallop’s right, with the Fire manager speaking highly of his contributions to the club in his 13 years as a player as well as his stellar coaching resume earned with Real Salt Lake so far.
“His record as a player itself and now as a young coach speaks for itself. He’s a winner as well, he’s won championships here. He’s done a fantastic job in his last three years at Salt Lake. Once I got the chance to talk to him, it was so easy to make that decision. He’s a gentleman, a winner and I think we have two very good people and I love to work with those type of people.”
Asked about how he’ll separate himself as a coach when he begins working with some of his former teammates Brown said, “It’s been great that I spent the three years in RSL because I’ve been able to learn under Jason Kreis as a coach and how to separate myself from the players. Coming back I think tehere’s a little separation there. I am good friends with some of the guys here but it’s a business, there’s a job to be done.
“I don’t think it’s going to be difficult relating with them, it’s just going to be said in a different way.”
Chicago Fire players report to Toyota Park for preseason physicals Saturday morning before departing for the first leg of training camp in Ave Maria, Fla on Sunday.