Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas is set to add two assistant coaches with Paulo Nagamura and Carlos García Badías joining as members of his staff, sources tell MIR97 Media. They will replace C.J. Brown and Nikolaos Kostenoglou, who are both leaving the staff, with Brown shifting to a new role in the front office. Former Detroit City assistant Ryan Needs will also join the Fire as a set piece coach.
Nagamura, most recently the head coach of the Houston Dynamo, was a long-respected member of the Sporting Kansas City organization. The Brazilian-born coach was also a finalist for the Fire head coaching job in 2021 when Ezra Hendrickson was ultimately hired. Nagamura is someone who knows the league well, having spent the bulk of his playing career with the LA Galaxy and Sporting KC, and has been on the radar of many MLS teams since his retirement. Though he’s been out of work for over a year since his Dynamo firing in September of 2022, Nagamura represents a smart addition to the coaching staff and someone who will make the Fire’s brain trust significantly stronger.
García, on the other hand, is a name most MLS fans will be largely unfamiliar with, as he has no prior ties to the United States. The 39-year-old former center back played in Spain for most of his career with Espanyol, Almería, and Betis, before finishing his career in the Middle East with Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) and Alanyaspor (Turkey). Since retirement, the Barcelona native has gained experience coaching as an assistant with Maccabi, two Chinese clubs, and the Ecuadorian national team, before recently completing his first head coaching gig with Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam in the Israeli league. García played alongside former Fire head coach Veljko Paunović with Almería, and will join up with the team pending the approval of his U.S. visa.
The additions of Nagamura and García are as replacements for the outgoing Brown and Kostenoglou, who were members of Klopas’ staff during his interim tenure. Brown will remain within the organization but will take up a non-sporting, community-focused role in the front office, reflecting the contributions he’s already made away from the field since his retirement from playing over a decade ago. Kostenoglou had joined the staff in August, meaning he was with the club for the same amount of time it took him to secure a visa (as he was first approached in May), as he has now left the Fire to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Also joining the staff will be Needs, a former Premier League video analyst at Swansea and Leeds. He will serve as the Fire’s set piece coach, a position that did not exist previously and could give the Fire an advantage in an area they’ve struggled in recent seasons. Kevin Minkus will stay on as Director of Football Analytics, and legendary Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who served as goalkeeper coach last season, will remain in his role and will continue to work with incumbent #1 Chris Brady and new draftee Bryan Dowd.