“Four years ago, Pauno and the staff accepted a challenge to help establish a football culture at the Fire,” said Chicago Fire President and General Manager Nelson Rodríguez. “Their efforts helped revitalize the Club with a competitive spirit and a dedication to always putting football first. Pauno and his staff were relentless in their devotion to the Club and for that we are immeasurably thankful.”
Paunović’s staff have also had their respective services discontinued. This includes Assistant Coaches Marko Mitrović and Eric Gehrig, Goalkeeper Coach Aleksandar Sarić, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Raphael Fevre, Director of Performance Petar Milčanović, Video Analyst Nenad Babić, Equipment Manager Brian Sauer, Assistant Equipment Manager Juan Arreola, Head Athletic Trainer Reade Whitney, Assistant Athletic Trainer Hillary Bell and Massage Therapist Steven Burrows. These staff members will have the opportunity to be retained by the next head coach or for other roles within the Club.
Eddie Rock, Senior Director of Soccer Operations, and Alex Boler, Senior Manager of Team Operations, will remain in their roles.
Paunović, the eighth full-time head coach in team history, guided the Club to the third-best overall record (16-11-7) in MLS in 2017, securing the Men in Red’s first appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2012. He was also named head coach of the 2017 MLS All-Star Team, which featured four players from the Fire’s roster, in the side’s match against Real Madrid at Soldier Field. Paunović also guided the Fire to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2016 and 2018.