For younger players newly accustomed to the concept of roster turnover and coaching change, the adjustment is all part of understanding the business that is professional soccer. The same can be said for MLS veterans such as Jon Busch and Patrick Nyarko, who’ve been around long enough to teach themselves, and others, how to adapt.
Before beginning his second stint with the Chicago Fire, Busch made stops in San Jose and Columbus, where Brian Bliss plied his trade as the club’s first-ever technical director and assumed the role of interim head coach following Robert Warzycha’s departure in early September 2013.
Two years later, Bliss will be at the helm once again when the Fire march into Montreal to face the Impact on Wednesday, and Busch will take comfort in knowing the team has a capable personality to call on in the last month of the regular season.
“Blissy is very detail oriented, very structured, he has a passion for the game, he wants to play, it’s going to be a bit more up tempo game with him, but he’s honest as well,” Busch said of Bliss’s candor. “Good or bad, he’s going to be very honest with every player and that’s something I like out of my coach. Whether you like what he tells you or not, as long as he’s honest with you, you can respect that. I think it’s going to be a good thing.”
Whether the full-time label is bestowed upon Bliss come the offseason is contingent on results over the course of the next five games, and General Manager Nelson Rodríguez. But familiarity never hurts, and, in the interim, the Fire should have enough to draw on.
“When [Frank] Klopas left and [Frank] Yallop came in, he had a different mentality and philosophy,” said Nyarko, who’s in his eighth season with the Men in Red. "With Brian and Logan [Pause], they’re really familiar. Brian is as experienced as it comes. … He knows what he wants. He had a meeting with us, he demanded what he is going to demand and everyone needs to be on board. Guys respect him enough. He knows all of the players because he brought in most of them. It’s not going to be as terrible of a transition, it’s just us players buckling up and doing what is needed to try to turn this into a positive.”
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Along with Bliss, Pause, who will still carry out day-to-day duties as vice president, steps in as the interim assistant, not too far removed from the game. The 34-year-old made the immediate transition to the front office and has assisted with the Academy - among other responsibilities - since retiring at the conclusion of the 2014 season, bringing a 12-year career to an end.
“Logan is someone I looked up to. He’s been one of my mentors and role models since I came into the league,” Nyarko added. “He’s very good with young players, and that’s what the team needs; somebody to help the young players grow. As veterans, we take responsibility for that, too, but with Logan, he will never stop until everything that needs to be done is accomplished. It’s going to be hard because he’s going to demand a lot, but at the end of the day, he’ll get the best out of the guys.”
Check out more of what Busch had to say about the changes to the technical staff in the video above.