New Year, New You. That was the zeitgeist of today’s 2020 Chicago Fire Media Day.
Here is a short list of what’s new from 2019:
owner, home stadium, club badge (which didn’t go over so well with a majority of the fan base), team colors (which look a lot better on merchandise than they did in the original branding reveal), official name (FC was added for help with Google machine SERPs), head coach (Raphael Wicky whose press conference opened Media Day), technical staff, a technical director and broadcast team (which hasn’t even been named yet).
There’s also a new designated player in Slovenian striker Robert Beric, and two DP slots still opened. joined as the first designated player signing of the off-season.
“There is something going on in this club,” Wicky said. “This is an exciting time for me to be the head coach.”
Yes, it is exciting because it’s a true, legitimate rebuild, one that began with tearing it all down to just the studs in foundation walls. Gone from 2019 are Bastian Schweinsteiger (the most famous player to ever wear the shirt), Dax McCarty (club captain who tells it like it is), Nemanja Nikolic (among the club’s all-time leading scorers) and Aleksandar Katai (who was the third DP last season, along with Basti and Dax).
Some signings have been made, including homegrown defender Mauricio Pineda, who has a chance to contribute. However, more signings are to come and Raphael Wicky acknowledged that, along with identifying some areas of need.
— Paul Maximilian Banks (@PaulMBanks) January 22, 2020
“Over the next weeks, we will add pieces,” The former USA U-17 and FC Basel coach said about a roster that stands at just 19 total players right now.
“We will try to build as quickly as possible a culture and a winning team, but the reality is — and you can see that in every sport all over the world — it takes time to build something.
‘‘But that’s not an alibi. We want to win. That is the mentality the players already have, the staff, myself. But it’s not going to happen overnight.”
“I can’t tell you if it’s gonna be in two weeks, in two months, in three months, but we’re working hard on that every day,” the Swiss continued.
Time is not on their side, as they begin the new season March 1 against reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders and make their return to Soldier Field on March 21 against 2018 champion Atlanta United.
Wicky, 42, knew exactly what kind of roster he was going to inherit as well as the nature of the challenge ahead of him. Fans are getting restless, as there is a lot of work to do and not much time to do it, but they best get 2021 vision as soon as possible.
This season is really going to be a lot more about building for 2021 and beyond, not achieving major results right away in this campaign.
“To build a team, to build something new, takes some time. That is also the experience I have [had],” Raphael Wicky continued.
“We want to win, and I’m sure we’re going to win games.”
“I’m not going to try to be somehow passive or anything. I’m just saying, and everyone who knows sports knows that it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.