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Cedric Cattenoy, Technical Director

Cedric Cattenoy, Technical Director

Cattenoy joined the Fire after most recently serving as the head coach of the Paris Saint-Germain Academy, a role he began in 2001. During that time, Cattenoy was tasked with developing the PSG method internationally, overseeing the training programs for the academy teams and training coaches in France and abroad. Cattenoy has helped produce more than 70 professional players, including Olympique Lyon forward and French U-21 international Moussa Dembélé as well as Bayern Munich winger and French international Kingsley Coman, recently a finalist for the Young Player of the Tournament Award at UEFA Euro 2016. Cattenoy will oversee the development and implementation of the Fire Academy’s curriculum, guide player and staff development, and work together with the first team staff to ensure continuity from the player development system up to the pro level. Cattenoy holds his UEFA “A” and youth licenses, an executive masters from the National Institution of Sports and Performance Expertise, his B.E.E.S. second degree football coach diploma and his goalkeeper coach qualifications.

Ludovic Taillandier, Head Coach (U-23)

Ludovic Taillandier, Head Coach (U-23)

Taillandier is a UEFA A and UEFA A Youth Elite licensed coach who comes to the Fire with 18 years of experience as a head coach. Born outside Paris, France, Taillandier joined the Fire following time spent as the Technical Director at the French Soccer Institute of California (2013-19). While there, Taillandier additionally served as the Technical Director of the Football Club of Los Angeles and coached their Under-10 and Under-12 teams, while also acting as head coach of the Total Futbol Academy’s U-11, U-13, and U-18 teams. Prior to that, Taillandier was the Academy Director at French Ligue 1 side Amiens SC (2010-13), while also coaching their U-19 and U-17 teams. As a player, Taillandier played professionally at Paris Saint-Germain with their U-16, U-18 and Pro 2 sides, as well as with Tours FC. He additionally represented France on the youth level with the U-16/U-17 teams.

Patrick Nyarko, Assistant Coach (MLS Next Pro)

Patrick Nyarko, Assistant Coach (MLS Next Pro)

Nyarko returns to the Club after an illustrious playing career. Patrick was drafted as the seventh overall pick by the Chicago Fire in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He made 196 appearances (148 starts) for the Club between 2008-15, scoring 19 goals and dishing out 39 assists. After spending eight seasons with the Fire, Nyarko spent two seasons at D.C. United where he played 40 games (35 starts).

At the international level Nyarko was called up to the Ghana National Team to face Chile. Nyarko made his Ghana debut against Chile on February 29, 2012 at the PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. 

Nyarko currently holds a USSF National B Coaching License & a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech.

Ross Brady, Head Coach (U-17)

Ross Brady, Head Coach (U-17)

Brady joined the Fire after three seasons at Northern Illinois University, where he served as full-time assistant coach as well as the Director of Coaching for Northern Illinois FC (2013-14). Prior to that, Brady was as an assistant coach at Hastings College in 2011-12. Brady holds at USSF A License and National Youth License from the United States Soccer Federation, as well as a Goalkeeping Level I and II Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He played collegiately at Lambuth College, graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Performance, and has a Masters Degree in Education from Hastings College in 2013.

Jon Forsythe, Assistant Coach (U-17)

Jon Forsythe, Assistant Coach (U-17)

Forsythe joins the academy staff after serving three years as the head coach of Moody Bible Institute and coaching five years with affiliate club Chicago Fire Juniors City. He started his coaching career in Cleveland, Ohio, working with his childhood club Ambassadors FC. Forsythe played collegiately at Moody Bible Institute, winning two National Championships in his four-year career. Forsythe holds a master's degree and USSF C License.

Selim Talbi, Head Coach (U-15)

Selim Talbi, Head Coach (U-15)

Talbi joins the Fire after coaching for Empire United in Western NY as a Development Academy head coach. With Empire, in 2016, he also launched and ran the strength and conditioning program. During his time in WNY Talbi was also the head coach at Hilbert College and spent time as the assistant coach at Niagara University. In France, for five years, he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Aviron Bayonnais Soccer Club (Division III), and, with the same club, he coached multiple boy’s teams. Before that, he was the head coach of the Division II women's team in Blanc Mesnil. Talbi holds a USSF “A-Youth” and a UEFA "A" Coaching License. He is also a Strength and Conditioning Specialist holding his “CSCS” through the NSCA and a European diploma “DUEPP” from the University of Lyon, France. Talbi also received a master's degree in research and training from the French National Institute of Sport (INSEP).

Irakli Mania, Assistant Coach (U-15)

Irakli Mania, Assistant Coach (U-15)

Mania, born in Tbilisi, Georgia arrived in the United States at the beginning of 2020. His coaching career began in 2013 at Georgia Dinamo Tbilisi Academy training U-8, U-11, U-14 age groups until 2015. From 2015-17, he was the assistant coach and coordinator of Dinamo Tbilisi Academy. He took part in the soccer development program in the club and participated in UEFA youth league coaching seminar. From 2017-19, Irakli was analytic and assistant coach of Georgian National Team U-21. Irakli has his UEFA A license.

Michael Barshai, Head Coach (U-14)

Michael Barshai, Head Coach (U-14)

Barshai has coached locally at the collegiate, high school and youth level for close to 20 years. He served as Assistant Head Coach at Concordia university, which he helped lead to conference title in 2005. He then moved on to coaching youth full time at Glenview and Northbrook, where he also served as Technical Director for Glenview SC. In 2015 he helped lead NSCDS to a conference title and received the ISL Coach of the Year award. Barshai is also a member of the Illinois ODP coaching staff and a member of the USL/PDL Scouting Network.

Barshai started playing with youth programs at Spartak Moscow, and then moved on to play for several local clubs. After moving to the United States with his family, he continued playing in clubs and leagues around Chicago, until deciding to focus fully on coaching soccer. Barshai holds a USSF A License and NSCAA Premier Diploma.

Mike Choquette, Assistant Coach (U-14)

Mike Choquette, Assistant Coach (U-14)

Choquette joins the Fire Academy after serving two years at club affiliate Chicago Fire Juniors City and is starting his third year as an assistant at the University of Chicago. Before that, he was coaching in Connecticut at Oakwood SC, the same club he played at growing up. He enjoyed multiple roles with the club, as staff coach for multiple Zone 1 teams and manager for facilities, the shop, and social media. Choquette played collegiately at UChicago, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Mike currently holds a USSF C-License.

Johnny Demergis, Head Coach (U-13)

Johnny Demergis, Head Coach (U-13)

Demergis joins the academy staff after spending time as the assistant coach for Concordia University while also working as the assistant director of coaching with the Chicago Fire Juniors. He arrived to Chicago by way of Denver where he was a member of the Colorado Rapids academy staff and also spent time as the technical director for Boulder Valley Soccer Club. He has taught physical education and earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education/Health and a Masters in Sports Leadership. Demergis played for USL club side San Diego Gauchos. His coaching credentials include a Premier Diploma, USSF National Youth License, UEFA B, and USSF A-Youth License.

Henry Aiyenero, Assistant Coach (U-13)

Henry Aiyenero, Assistant Coach (U-13)

Aiyenero joins the Fire after working with Wisconsin Rush as the Associate Boys Age Group Director and 2008 Boys Head Coach. In 2015, he launched the Aiyenero School of Excellence (ASE). During this time he was the Director of Soccer Operations with Traverse Bay Areas Youth Soccer (TBAYS). Originally from Lagos, Nigeria. First coaching opportunity was with the Jr. Irish Soccer Club in South Bend, Indiana. Aiyenero, played professionally for over 5 years with Ceara Sporting Club in Brazil.

Aiyenero holds USSF A’ License, NSCAA Premier from the United State Soccer Federations, CSA ‘ B’ License from the Canada Soccer Association and USSF National Youth License with youth Modules instructor.

Igor Dimov, Goalkeeper Coach

Igor Dimov, Goalkeeper Coach

A Macedonian international, Dimov’s playing career included appearances in the UEFA Europa League with FK FCU 55 of Macedonia in 2001-03. Since then, his influence as a goalkeeping coach has been wide-spread among the Chicagoland area. Dimov has held as many as five coaching roles at a time since 2008, with Chicago Fire North Juniors, Chicago Fire City Juniors, Chicago Fire West Juniors, Inferno Soccer Club, and Chicago Magic Academy having all employed his services in that time. Dimov has worked with every level from U-8 to U-18 and has a UEFA B-soccer coaching license.

Matt Pearson, Scout

Matt Pearson, Scout

Since arriving in Chicago, Pearson has held various roles in Chicago Fire FC. Working with the Fire Juniors North and West, he also spent time with the clubs PDL (U23) side assisting both Mike Matkovic and Brian Bliss. 

During what was a transitional period for the club, he undertook a number of scouting assignments in late 2015. Working alongside Trevor James, he helped to build a database of players for the club heading into the MLS Draft 2016. Following the MLS Draft that year, Matt was appointed Head Scout for the First Team by club President Nelson Rodriguez. 

In 2016, he spent a lot of time on the road watching games both domestically and internationally growing his network and gaining knowledge of how other teams work across the globe. The following year, in 2017, the team had its most successful season in recent years finishing 3rd overall in the Supporters Shield Standings.

In April 2018, Matt was re-assigned to the Academy with a view to recruiting from the local market. Working closely with our academy director Cedric Cattenoy and his staff, we have setout a plan to establish ourselves as the market leader in terms of finding and developing talent.