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Q&A: Logan Pause talks transition from player to executive | In Good Hands with MiAllState

Just over a week after calling an end to his 12-year playing career with the Chicago Fire, Logan Pause was named a Vice President of the club with his duties beginning on December 1, 2014. Logan talks with us about his transition from the pitch to the front office and the current state of MLS.

Q. How has the transition from player to front office staff been so far?

It’s been going really well. First and foremost being welcomed by everyone here has really taken a big weight off. I want to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can. Come next preseason, as the guys get into the fold and into training, I’m sure it will be a little strange, but that’s something I’ve been preparing for mentally and emotionally for some time.

Q. What sort of adjustments in your personal life have you had to make with your new role here?

First and foremost I’m in a stage of learning as much as I can, so it’s like ‘jump in the deep end’ and learn as much information as possible. I want to develop strong relationships here. Personally, it’s an adjustment for my family – my wife and my kids. Luckily I have a wife who’s managing our household very, very well right now. Also it means a more routine schedule and I’ll be around a little more next year.

Q. What are a few lessons you learned while playing that you think will help in your new role here with the Fire front office?

Having been here a long time and seeing the ins and outs of how things work will help. Having played for a number of coaches gives me a wealth of knowledge and a level of adaptability. At the end of the day, the relationships I’ve built downstairs from friends to leadership and influence, it’s not a whole lot different up here [in the office]. I just need to be able to transfer my abilities, and it gives me a unique perspective having worn the badge.

Q. Which Fire front office department are you most excited to work with?

I think there are areas that really excite me. I can see certain areas where I can both learn a lot and also add some value. Specifically Corporate Partnerships, I will be able to engage with our partners and have a player’s perspective. I think that trickles down to ticket sales and fan engagement also, as well as the youth development side of things. I’m thrilled to dive in; I need to choose where I’m directing my focus now.

Q. Something we have in common is a Master’s in Sports Administration degree from Northwestern University. How do you envision yourself applying what you learned at Northwestern here in the office?

My time at Northwestern was amazing and some of the course and class work there, as well as some of the classmates I met, really sharpened my perspective on the business of sport. It took me away from the field a bit and gave me a well rounded perspective on the business of sport. As useful as that education was though, what’s going to be most valuable is what I learn from the people here in the front office on a daily basis.

Q. What do you think about the overall health of the league?

It’s booming. You see it in the numbers of expansion and the new TV contracts. Corporate sponsorships are growing and the partners that now want to be a part of the league speaks volumes. You also see it in the talent of the player pool. It’s becoming more competitive. Players are really wanting to come here, not just at the end of their career but in their prime.

Q. What was it like playing for Frank Yallop? What do you like most about his coaching style?

I told Frank when I left that it was so enjoyable for me to play for him. Outside of the lack of the team’s overall success, it was so enjoyable for me to finish my career under Frank. We instantly had a respect and appreciation for each other’s work, a relationship that really blossomed from the beginning. My role on the field was somewhat limited, but Frank made me feel valued and that I had a voice. It was important for me to be a part of the team and I can’t say how much I appreciated playing for Frank.

Q. What do you think the team needs to do to ensure a more successful season in 2015?

While there will be some turnover, the margin last year for being good to very good and very good to great is so thin in our league. I think we saw last year that we are a hard team to play against and a hard team to beat. It didn’t show up in the standings and in the playoffs, but in terms of building, those things are highly important. With a few more pieces to get us over that hump, and as we see the roster continue to unfold, I’m very excited to see the Fire in 2015.

We had some tough losses and draws last season. Some of those tough moments are where you grow as a team, and that will continue to reflect and swing the other way.

Q. Which players from around MLS do you admire the most? Why?

I see this as a two part question. It’s easier to talk about guys like Landon and Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry, big players like that. Firstly, guys like that with unbelievable quality and commitment to their trade. Those guys are such fierce competitors and winners.

There’s that side, and then for me having played in the league for as long as I have, I have a huge appreciation for guys like Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wingert, and Jeff Larentowicz -- guys who have poured their heart and soul into this league and their teams, guys who aren’t necessarily getting all the credit but are very important players for this league.

Q. What do you think you would be doing now if you never played soccer? Would you have pursued a different sport, or something else altogether?

That’s a tough one. I grew up playing lacrosse and ice hockey; I barely have the size and frame for soccer let alone either of those two sports so I wouldn’t have pursued that. Maybe I would have taught. I always enjoyed teaching. Maybe being a college professor like my father.

He is a professor at North Carolina State and he taught design. He taught cool classes like ‘color & light’, and fundamental design before the whole digital age. So that’s probably where I’d be, without having a crystal ball.

Hi, my name is Logan Pause and I will do my best to make sure that the Chicago Fire is in good hands.