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CHICAGO (Dec. 20, 2021) – Chicago Fire FC today announced that head coach Ezra Hendrickson has hired Ring of Fire member C.J. Brown as an assistant coach. The Club leader in appearances (372), starts (364) and minutes played (32,538), Brown returns to the Fire with 25 years of experience as a coach and player at the professional level.

“C.J. is a very good coach with an extensive amount of MLS experience,” said head coach Ezra Hendrickson. “He will be a great addition to the coaching staff and will play a key role in the development of our young players.”

Brown, 46, becomes the latest addition to Hendrickson’s coaching staff, joining assistant coaches Junior Gonzalez and Frank Klopas and goalkeeper coach Adin Brown.

 “I am truly honored to be back with Chicago Fire and a part of Ezra Hendrickson’s coaching staff,” said Brown. “I am excited for Ezra. I know he has been working hard for this moment in his career. I am grateful to be a part of this journey with Ezra and the team. I will do all that I can to live out the Tradition, Honor, and Passion of this Club.”

Brown rejoins the Fire after spending the 2021 season as the technical director and head coach of Chicago House AC in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA). Prior to his time with Chicago House, the California Bay Area native spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach in MLS, working with Real Salt Lake (2011-13), the Fire (2014), New York City FC (2015), Orlando City SC (2016-18) and the New York Red Bulls (2018-20). Additionally, earlier this year Brown served as an assistant coach for the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

 Prior to transitioning into coaching, Brown spent his entire 13-year playing career with the Fire (1998-2010), producing one of the most distinguished careers in league history. At the time of his retirement, Brown’s 372 appearances ranked third in league history for the most with a single team. Additionally, he is one of just three players in Club history to be a part of all six of the Fire’s domestic championships, alongside Chris Armas and Zach Thornton.

Brown helped lead the team to the Domestic Double, winning MLS Cup and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the team’s 1998 expansion season, followed by three additional U.S. Open Cup trophies (2000, 2003 and 2006) and an MLS Supporters’ Shield title (2003). Brown also served as team captain for the final three seasons of his playing career (2008-2010), before being inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame, known as the Ring of Fire, in 2012.

At the international level, he made 15 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1998-2003, appearing in the 1998 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Brown holds his U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) “B” License.