Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAVID GUBALA
The Chicago Fire didn't make the playoffs in 2011, but the team's strong finish to the regular season has interim head coach Frank Klopas looking look a good candidate to keep the coaching job. No decision has been made yet, but Klopas, also the team's Technical Director, does plan on being with the club in 2012, whether as the head coach or in another role.
"I'll be back somewhere," said Klopas. "When I stepped in, I definitely said that we're going to do this until the end of the season and sit down at the end of the season. Now that the season is done, I'm going to enjoy this moment with my players and in the next couple of weeks we're going to sit down as an organization and make the best decision going forward for the Fire."
"I've enjoyed every second of my professional job especially now when I did this as an interim coach. I really enjoyed it with this group because I've always believed in this group.”
Frank Klopas temporarily took the role of a head coach while simultaneously still acting the team's Technical Director. Klopas would usually be the one picking the right man for the head job.
"It's a group decision, it's not only me. There are a lot of people that are involved such as Mr. Javier Leon [Managing Director], Mike Jeffries [Director of Player Personnel], and myself."
"We're going to evaluate and right now I think there are a lot of positives with this group. The way we finished the second half of the season, the way the team has come together, some of the additions we made late in the season have been very positive and definitely we can build on this."
The Chicago Fire finished off 2011 with an 8-5-10 record under Frank Klopas, improving from a dreadful 1-4-6 in the first half of the season with Carlos de los Cobos still in charge.
"I know there's still a lot of work to be done for sure because the league's getting competitive and here in Chicago, the way we want to move forward is that we want to be a team that's competing for the championship every year."
The Fire also managed to peak at a seemingly right time. Since August 21st, the club posted an impressive 7-2-1 record to lead them to a total of 43 points for the season, just missing out on the playoffs in the last couple of games.
"As good as this feeling is, believe me, next week when we turn the T.V. on and be watching the other teams compete for a championship, we're not going to be happy."