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Fire's Klopas steps down as head coach

Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas has stepped down from his position, the club announced on Wednesday.

"No one appreciates Frank's passion, integrity and competitive spirit more than me," said Fire owner Andrew Hauptman. "Frank has been a big part of this organization for many years as a player, Ring of Fire member, technical director and coach. I want to personally thank him for his efforts over this period. He is a wonderful friend and will always be a member of the Fire family.

"There have been many highlights over these years but I think now is an appropriate time to make a transition to new leadership. Of course, making this team compete for championships on a consistent basis is our first priority," Hauptman continued.

Klopas began his tenure with the Fire as technical director in 2008 and assumed the role of head coach in 2011, taking over for Carlos de los Cobos after the Fire's 1-4-6 start to that season, eventually leading the team to a 9-9-16 mark that left them just three points shy of the playoff places.

After getting off to a 2-7-2 start this season, Klopas orchestrated a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy in May to bring in forward Mike Magee, who helped the Fire climb back into playoff contention. The club ended the season with a 14-13-7 mark, narrowly missing the postseason following Sunday's 5-2 loss to Red Bull New York, finishing the campaign in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Fire were a combined 39-29-23 in league play under Klopas.

Klopas also helped the Fire make history with the capture of the MLS Cup and US Open Cup trophies in their 1998 inaugural season.

Additionally, president of soccer operations Javier Leon was also let go by the club on Wednesday.

"I thank Javier for his steadfast commitment and dedication to the Fire the past six years," said Hauptman. "He has worked tirelessly on behalf of the club and I want to express my deepest gratitude for his efforts."