gehrig preseason

Chicago Fire Announce Additions to Soccer Operations Staff

CHICAGO (Feb. 15, 2017) – The Chicago Fire announced additions to the soccer operations staff on Wednesday, naming Eric Gehrig as assistant coach, Steven Purcell as head athletic trainer and Reade Whitney as assistant athletic trainer.

Gehrig joins head coach Veljko Paunovic’s coaching staff after recently announcing his retirement from a professional playing career that spanned six seasons. The Harvey, Ill. born defender joined the Fire on Dec. 10, 2014 in a trade with Orlando City SC, who had acquired his rights in the MLS Expansion Draft. The 2015 Fire Defensive Player of the Year, Gehrig appeared in 30 games and tallied one assist in regular season matches for the Men in Red from 2015-16.

MORE: Eric Gehrig announces retirement in heartfelt Instagram post

Gehrig began his professional career when he joined Columbus Crew SC as a Discovery Signing prior to the start of the 2011 season. Gehrig made his MLS debut on June 26 against the Colorado Rapids and started four of eight appearances in his rookie season. Gehrig appeared in a total of 46 regular season matches for the Black & Gold, and also made two postseason appearances, starting the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the New England Revolution in 2014.

A four-year standout at Loyola University Chicago, Gehrig was also a member of the Fire PDL squad that reached the PDL Championship game in 2009.

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Purcell, who joined the Men in Red as the assistant athletic trainer at the start of the 2016 season, has been promoted to head athletic trainer. Before joining the Fire, Purcell served as an athletic trainer for Orlando City SC, Columbus Crew SC, The Ohio State University, University of Richmond and Indiana University Bloomington. The St. Louis, Mo. native holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Indiana University Bloomington and a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in athletic training from Concordia University-Wisconsin, and in 2009 was published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Reade Whitney has joined the Fire from Dallas-based Texas Health Resources, where he worked since 2013. He spent over two years as an athletic trainer with FC Dallas and holds a Master of Science in kinesiology and rehabilitation science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and a Bachelor of Science in athletic training from the University of Tampa.