Veljko Paunovic

Chicago Fire Announce Soccer Operations Staff

CHICAGO (Jan. 24, 2016) – The Chicago Fire announced the soccer operations staff Sunday, naming Marko Mitrovic and Logan Pause as assistant coaches, Aleksandar Saric as goalkeeper coach and Jordan Webb as strength and conditioning coach.

“We have assembled a staff that simultaneously demonstrates our commitment to recruiting people of great character, championship pedigree and also strengthens our emphasis on the ability to teach,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez.

Mitrovic most recently served as an assistant coach under Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic as Serbia were crowned 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup champions. A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Mitrovic holds a UEFA A license and serves as a UEFA Official Lecturer for both the A and B coaching licensing courses. He began his coaching career in June 2010, serving as the first assistant for FK Banat in the Serbian First Division. In 2013, Mitrovic took over as the head coach of the Red Star Belgrade Under-16 side and led them to first place in their division for the 2013-14 season. In August of 2012, Mitrovic joined the Football Association of Serbia as the first assistant to the U-18, U-19 and U-20 youth sides.

A midfielder by trade, Mitrovic’s professional career spanned 14 years and included stops in the top flight in Serbia, Hungary, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

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Pause, who spent his entire 12-year professional playing career as a member of the Fire, appeared in 286 regular season matches, and scored three goals and tallied 11 assists. In addition to 14 postseason appearances, Pause was a member of Chicago Fire sides that captured the 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships as well as the 2003 Supporters’ Shield. A U.S. youth international, Pause made his senior national team debut on July 4, 2009 and earned a total of six caps throughout his career. Pause was selected in the third round (24th overall) of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft by the Fire after leading the University of North Carolina to the NCAA College Cup title in 2001.

After retiring at the conclusion of the 2014 season, the Hillsborough, N.C. native was named club vice president on Nov. 3, 2014 and interim assistant coach on Sept. 20, 2015. Pause holds a USSF A license.

Saric also served with Paunovic on the Serbian U-20 coaching staff. Under Saric’s tutelage, Serbia earned three shutouts and conceded just four goals in seven games in their title run. Saric’s coaching career includes stints with FC Arema of the Indonesian Super League, Dunajska Streda of the Slovakian Premier League, SC Varzim of the Portuguese Segunda Liga and Austria’s SC Austria Lustenau. Saric’s 24-year professional playing career began in 1986 with FK Crvena Zvezda of the Serbian SuperLiga and included stops in Germany, Portugal, Israel, Romania, Austria and Slovakia.

Saric holds his UEFA A coaching license and is also a licensed goalkeeper coach by the Spanish and Austrian football federations.

Webb joins the Fire from EXOS, where he served as a performance specialist and analyst for two years. Familiar with soccer, Webb played collegiate soccer at Missouri Valley College, holds a USSF D license and previously worked with both US Soccer Federation and Seattle Sounders FC. He also has previous professional sports experience working with the Cleveland Browns and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Additional appointments to the soccer staff include head athletic trainer Mario Cruz (PT, DPT, SCS, ATC), assistant athletic trainer Steven Purcell (MS, ATC), licensed massage therapist Jake Bronowski, equipment manager Brian Sauer and manager of team and soccer operations Alex Boler.

 

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