Chicago removes interim tag from Klopas

The Chicago Fire removed the interim tag from Frank Klopas on Thursday, making him their permanent manager following a solid stint as caretaker boss this season.

Klopas replaced former coach Carlos de los Cobos on May 30 with the Fire just 1-4-6, but guided Chicago to an 8-5-10 record over the last 23 games in Major League Soccer and to the U.S. Open Cup final.

He is the first ex-Fire player to be named head coach and just the sixth coach in the club's history. Klopas joined MLS when the league launched in 1996, and joined Chicago for its first season in 1998.

As an expansion team, Chicago claimed the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup titles with Klopas playing an integral role. He notched the golden-goal winner in the Open Cup final.

"This is my team, my city, my club," said Klopas. "I am extremely thankful to the Fire organization and our owner, Andrew Hauptman, for giving me this tremendous opportunity to lead my hometown side as we look to compete for both the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup."

A former U.S. national team player who was on the team for the 1994 World Cup, Klopas spent his first two MLS seasons with the Kansas City Wiz, scoring seven goals in 54 matches.

Klopas then played two seasons with Chicago, finishing with eight goals in 50 matches. He joined former Fire coach Bob Bradley's staff the following season, then returned to the club in 2008 as technical director.

"I believe Frank is the best person to lead our young men to achieve success on the pitch and beyond," Hauptman said. "Since we brought him back to the Fire ranks a few years ago, he has shown an incredible commitment to building the kind of club and team we strive for.

"He's a passionate and hard working coach, and he believes in our values and our philosophy and it shows. He has a special bond with our young players, and he has fostered a unique culture this year that is sure to lead the Fire to great success in the future."

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.