Chicago Fire sign directors Georg Heitz & Sebastian Pelzer to contract extensions

  • Fire finished in13th place in Eastern Conference in 2023
  • Chicago haven't made the playoffs since 2017
  • The team has seen several homegrown players rise through the ranks in recent years
Chicago Fire sign two executives to contract extensions
Chicago Fire sign two executives to contract extensions / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

Chicago Fire have announced that sporting Georg Heitz and technical director Sebastian Pelzer have signed contract extensions with the Eastern Conference side.

The decision to extend both directors has been met with criticism from many Chicago supporters, as this will be their fifth season in charge of areas such as scouting recruitment, while the Fire have failed to qualify for the postseason in all four years of their tenure.

Chicago last won a playoff series in 2007, and they haven't clinched a spot in MLS Cup playoffs since the 2017 season.

"I'm pleased that Georg and Sebastian will continue to lead our sporting operations," Fire owner and chairman Joe Mansueto said in a release. "As we continue working toward building a world-class organization deeply connected to the community, Georg and his team have created a strong foundation that will lead to sustained success.

"Our fans deserve to support a team that is a consistent contender for trophies, and heading into the 2024 season, we are all committed to taking the necessary steps to bring more success to the Chicago Fire."

The duo have made a positive impact in Chicago's outgoing transfers, though. They've overseen Gaga Slonina and Jhon Duran make the jump to the Premier League, bringing more exposure to MLS and the Fire.

"I'm excited to continue leading the Chicago Fire, and I'd like to thank Joe Mansueto for his trust and support," said Heitz in a release. "Despite falling short of our collective goal to qualify for the playoffs, we have made improvements and professionalized the organization in multiple areas to be consistently competitive in the coming seasons and over the long term.

"We are confident that by adding the right pieces, we will be a strong contender in the Eastern Conference next season and become a team that brings more success and joy to our fans each week."

Heitz and Pelzer have also seen the likes of Brian Gutierrez and Chris Brady emerge as homegrown players to the first team, drawing plenty of interest from European sides. The 20-year-old Gutierrez has notched over 90 appearances for the club and recently signed a contract extension, while Brady is up to 33 appearances for the Fire at just 19-years-old.

With Xherdan Shaqiri, Brady and Gutierrez leading the charge, Chicago will aim to be back in the playoff mix in the 2024 MLS season.

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