The Chicago Fire filled out the rest of the soccer operations staff on Wednesday and a familiar name is an assistant coach.
Eric Gehrig filled the assistant coach vacancy opened by Logan Pause's departure. Gehrig, 29, played the last two seasons with the Fire as a defender.
Gehrig had his option declined by the Fire this offseason, but resurfaced as an assistant coach at the start of preseason training. He was technically on trial as a coach until today.
Yesterday Gehrig announced his retirement as a player on Instagram, which led the way for his move into coaching. Gehrig played four seasons with the Columbus Crew before joining the Fire.
Six years ago to the day I signed my first professional contract. It was one of the greatest days of my life. I still can remember anxiously waiting to get out of what felt like the longest team meeting in my life. I just couldn’t run upstairs fast enough to call Greg. Competing in the playoffs for the Columbus Crew, in front of some of the most passionate fans, are memories I'll cherish forever. And then being traded to my hometown Chicago Fire, the first soccer team I ever loved, and being voted Chicago Fire Defender of the Year. Literally backyard dreams becoming a reality. Thank you to my brother @ggehrig09 for sharing his genuine joy and unwavering support. To my parents, there’s just no words. Car rides, soccer jerseys, nachos at Fire games, every Adidas Predator shoes released, you name it. I LOVE you 3 so much, and here's to many more memories at soccer stadiums 😉. Thank you to all my coaches over the years for relentlessly pushing me, even when it was hard for me to see why at the time. You guys hardened me, toughened me, and without those experiences there's no way I would have made it to Major League Soccer. Thank you to the fans, for giving a no-name kid from Loyola a chance to earn your trust and support. Both to the people of Columbus, who became family, and to my brothers and sisters in Chicago, THANK YOU. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates. To me being with you all, and getting to know you, is what was the best part. Sure, I'll miss competing in sold out stadiums, wrestling with superstar forwards, or hitting 60 yard lasers to a teammates foot 😁. But I WILL undoubtedly miss those times spent with the boys the most, and I've been lucky to make some amazing friends for life. You all made me a better player, but more importantly a better man. Thank you so much guys. I’ll always be here for you! ….and with that I announce my retirement from playing professional soccer. It’s bittersweet for sure, but I am at peace, and more than anything, I’m beyond grateful. The game has meant too much to me over the last 20 years for this to be the end... EG ❤️ p.s. Happy Valentines Day @natalieput. You’re so pretty. Love you.
Gehrigh is younger than six players on the Fire's roster: Jorge Bava, Arturo Alvarez, Michael Harrington, Michael de Leeuw, Dax McCarty and Joao Meira.
In two other moves to the soccer operations staff, Steven Purcell got moved up to head athletic trainer after being an assistant athletic trainer last year. Reade Whitney was hired to fill Purcell's vacated spot.