Did refusing to release U-20 internationals get Ezra Hendrickson fired?

“Ezra Hendrickson fired” buzzed across social media on Monday after just over a season in charge for the outgoing coach. Frank Klopas was appointed as the Fire’s interim head coach for the rest of the 2023 campaign. Junior Gonzalez, an assistant coach, was likewise fired. After being recruited in November 2021, Hendrickson, 51, finishes with a regular-season MLS record of 12-18-14.

Three coaches have now been fired by the team since 2019. After the 2021 season, Hendrickson took Raphael Wicky’s place, and Veljko Paunovic was let go in 2019.

“This was a difficult decision, but after careful consideration, we felt that a change was necessary at this time as we work toward our goal of advancing to the playoffs and competing for trophies,” Fire sporting director Georg Heitz said in a release.

Why was Ezra Hendrickson fired?

Was Ezra Hendrickson fired because of his stance on sending some of his young players to the U-20 World Cup?

Hendrickson claimed that after lengthy deliberations, it was decided that the cost to the club would not outweigh granting Gutierrez and Brady’s requests to attend the match. While Brady is one of the most talented goalkeepers in the United States, Gutierrez is also a standout midfielder. The two have lofty goals for the American men’s national team.

“They really wanted to go, and they expressed that. We didn’t want to disappoint them or the federation, but the priority in this situation is the Chicago Fire”, said Hendrickson.

Although it’s not unusual for a club to refuse to release a player for a young competition, the Fire’s efforts to establish a solid reputation as a premier player-development organization may suffer as a result. Because the Fire are only really presenting themselves as a suitable home for academy players, they run the danger of turning off other players by choosing to stifle Gutierrez and Brady’s international dreams.

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