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C.J. Brown left the Chicago House to become an assistant with the Fire. Photo by Chicago House

C.J. Brown left the Chicago House to become an assistant with the Fire. Photo by Chicago House

Pro Soccer Report: House lose coach to Fire, Red Stars gain young talent

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

There are three professional soccer teams that play in Chicago and all three will have new coaches in 2022.

The Chicago Fire relieved coach Raphael Wicky of his duties toward the end of the season and replaced him with Ezra Hendrickson.

The Chicago Red Stars are in the process of interviewing candidates after longtime coach Rory Dames resigned 24 hours after the team lost the NWSL championship match.

Now, the Chicago House are looking for a new coach. The team was coached during its inaugural season by former Fire player C.J., who left for an assistant coaching job with the Fire.

In a message sent to fans, House President and CEO Peter Wilt wrote Brown’s move was “historic and bittersweet.”

“C.J. was a big part of our inaugural season successes,” Wilt wrote. “We move on knowing we are better off having had him as part of the club. Chicago House’s first season established a tremendous foundation and built a professional brand that is positioned well for the future.”

The House started out sluggish in the first year of action in the National Independent Soccer League. The team was 1-5-2 and in last place in the 10-team league before turning things around to finish 7-9-2 and in sixth place. The House was tied with two other teams with 23 points, but the goal-differential tiebreaker kept them from a fourth- or fifth-place finish.

 

New Red Stars
The Red Stars selected five players in the NWSL draft earlier this month.

The top pick was Michigan State’s Ava Cook, a forward who spent three years at Grand Valley State before joining the Spartans. She led the team in goals, assists, points, shots and game-winning goals, and was named Second Team All-Big Ten and United Soccer Coaches All-Region.

Also drafted was Notre Dame midfielder Samantha Fisher, a two-time captain on the Fighting Irish from Simi Valley, California.

The Red Stars picked a Chicago-area player in Sarah Griffith, who hails from Naperville and played college soccer at Purdue. She holds the Boilermakers single-season goals record with 16, and once scored eight goals in a seven-game stretch.

Another pick, Arkansas midfielder Kayla McKeon, was named to several SEC All-Tournament Teams. The Texas native scored 35 goals and had 24 assists in her college career.

Finally, Arizona State defender Jayda Hylton-Pelaia was taken. Internationally, Hylton-Pelaia represented Jamaica at the 2019 Pan Am games in Lima, Peru.

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