Top Stories

Setting the line on the Chicago Fire coaching search



If you are a Chicago Fire fan and you’re having trouble keeping up with all the candidates to replace Juan Carlos Osorio, SBI is here to help.

The list of head coaching candidates is a long one, but not all candidates are created equal. Some are serious long-shots, while others are true front-runners. Bruce Arena was the biggest name to join the mix, and while he has already denied any interest, sources have confirmed that he did, in fact, speak to the Fire. Where those talks went is unclear, but it shows how serious Chicago is about this search.

Here is a rundown of the candidates and the completely unofficial odds on their chances of being hired by the Fire based on what SBI has heard from a variety of sources:

  • CANDIDATE             ODDS
  • Denis Hamlett         4-1      
  • Still the favorite, even as the field grows.
  • Paul Mariner           7-1      
  • If Fire fans could vote, Mariner would be hired. 
  • Frank Klopas          12-1    
  • Might have a better chance of becoming technical director.
  • MIke Jeffries          18-1    
  • Deserves a chance but poor record in Dallas hurts.
  • John Spencer         20-1    
  • Could become a great head coach, may need more seasoning.
  • Mike Matkovich      40-1    
  • Surprise interviewee would make great head of player development.
  • Hristo Stoitchkov   75-1    
  • Given a courtesy look but few think Hristo-Blanco is a good idea.
  • Bruce Arena           OFF    
  • Sources say Chicago did speak to Arena, but Arena denies ever having interest

No, SBI won’t be accepting wagers on these lines so don’t get too crazy. There is certainly the chance for a curveball, especially when word in Chicago is that new owner Andrew Hauptman is fully involved in the hiring process. Will Hauptman listen to Fire legend Chris Armas, who endorsed Hamlett? Will he go with fresh blood in Mariner? Will he wind up hiring a candidate whose identity has yet to be revealed?

A decision is expected early next week so stay tuned.

What do you think of the odds? Where would your money be going right now? Share your thoughts below


  1. Can we just get Mariner so I can stop hearing his name brought up every time a coach needs hiring? He seems like the best candidate and I’d love to see what he’d do with the Fire.

  2. My vote is for Mariner for the following reasons :
    1. He is coming from a winning organization under a proven coach
    2. He may know something about beating the Revs (which we can’t seem to do)
    3. Hamlett did nothing to distinguish himself during his short iterim period but trot out the same tired ideas that Sarachan did
    4. He is familiar with the league and the draft and may be able to provide a different opinion

    speaking spanish is a plus for Hamlett but that’s about all I can say favors him.

  3. Only logical selection would be Hamlett – spoke with Soehn and said Hamlett was a great coach- he worked aside him as well as was coached by him. He shouldn’t be viewed as a second choice- but the ONLY choice. More interesting to me is the move to add a T.D. – has worked well for us in DC- a person with european connections, has played the game and someone who knows how the game should be played – Can you think of someone who has all that in Chicago? The TD MUST have a good relationship with the coach for this to work.

  4. NOT Mariner.

    Hamlett (knowledge of the team, speaker of Spanish, Costa Rican roots, knowledge of how MLS works, loyalty, has worked under smart coaches) has some definite pluses.

    None of the others stir my blood at all except Spencer a little (ha ha) since he knows MLS and I would think would be the fiery kind of coach that we like to have here in Chicago.

  5. The closer we get to the season, the more it makes sense to go with someone familar with the team. That would favor Hamlett…or it would if the regular season mattered more.

  6. Ives – Did Chicago get NY’s 1st rounder in 2008 or 2009 when Osorio signed to coach for them? shows that NY still has its 2008 1st rounder.

    Marinre would be my pick for Fire coach.

  7. I wish there was more of an “sexier” candidate out there, but since there isn’t, my pick is Hamlett. He’s been with the team since ’98, so he’s very familiar with the players, the front office, the league, and the city. Plus he speaks Spanish, which will allow him to communicate with the Spanish-speaking players (especially Blanco).

  8. I definitely hope Mariner will get the job but I think the most important thing to come out of this whole thing is the technical director position because it means that Guppy can no longer affect who is on the team.

  9. If Ives ‘Vegas’ Galarcep’s odds are solid I’d be fine with either of the two favorites getting the job. Nobody else on that list makes me the least bit happy.

    I would still prefer Mariner to bring in some new blood but it sounds like one way or another things are being shaken up in the player development / technical directorship areas.

    So I guess I’d say let’s pick one of those two and get on with finding a striker to drop into the squad!


Leave a Comment