Major League Soccer

Every MLS coaching change of 2021

Lizzy Becherano
Chicago Fire FC recently parted ways with Raphael Wicky, making that the league's seventh coaching change of 2021
Chicago Fire FC recently parted ways with Raphael Wicky, making that the league's seventh coaching change of 2021 / Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
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Across the league, clubs have found themselves at crossroads with their leadership. 

Chicago Fire FC’s decision to part ways with manager Raphael Wicky marks the seventh Major League Soccer coaching change during the 2021 season. 

Atlanta United has found a permanent replacement with Gonzalo Pineda since the departure of Gabriel Heinze, while other teams continue to use an interim manager as their search for a secure head coach continues. 

Javier Perez, who started as a quick solution for Toronto FC’s problems, has now been named head coach for the remainder of the 2021 season following Chris Armas' sudden exit. 

Here’s a look at each of the coaching changes in 2021.


1. Chicago Fire FC- Raphael Wicky

Raphael Wicky
Chicago Fire FC recently parted ways with head coach Raphael Wicky / Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The most recent change is Raphael Wicky parting ways with the Chicago Fire FC, effective immediately.

Assistant coach Frank Klopas will stand in as interim manager for the time being as the search for a new leader unfolds.

Wicky leaves the Fire sitting in 12th place on the Eastern Conference table, following a 2-0 win over New York City FC on Wednesday night. 

2. FC Cincinnati- Jaap Stam

Jaap Stam
FC Cincinnati relieved Jaap Stam from his duties as head coach / Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

FC Cincinnati relieved Jaap Stam from his duties as head coach on September 27. 

The club also dismissed assistant coach Said Bakkati, who came with Stam in 2020, and Yoann Damet, who twice served as FCC's interim head coach. 

Tyrone Marshall, head coach of the club’s Under-19 academy team and future U23 side, has taken over as interim manager while the club actively searches for a new leader. 

3. FC Dallas- Luchi Gonzalez

Luchi Gonzalez
Luchi Gonzalez before departing Dallas / Fernando Leon/ISI Photos/Getty Images

FC Dallas parted ways with Luchi Gonzalez following two-and-a-half years at the helm. The former head coach managed a 28-29-25 record, reaching the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in both of his first two seasons. 

Marco Ferruzzi, the club’s director of soccer operations, took over on an interim basis as the search for a permanent replacement begun.

4. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Marc Dos Santos

Marc Dos Santos
Marc Dos Santos has left the Whitecaps / Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Vancouver Whitecaps parted ways with head coach Marc Dos Santos on August 27 after a string of bad results and an eight-game winless streak from May through early July. 

Director of methodology Vanni Sartini serves as acting head coach for the time being as the team’s administration announced they will not be looking to hire another manager right away.

5. Real Salt Lake- Freddy Juarez

Freddy Juarez
Freddy Juarez was sacked by Real Salt Lake / Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake and head coach Freddy Juarez parted ways on August 2, effective immediately. Assistant Pablo Mastroeni stepped up as interim manager for the club while they searched for a permanent solution. 

Juarez was later named the Seattle Sounders assistant coach on September 1.

6. Atlanta United - Gabriel Heinze

Gabriel Heinze
Heinze was replaced by Gonzalo Pineda / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Gabriel Heinze departed Atlanta United on July 18 after compiling a 2-4-7 record following his hire last December. 

Assistant coach Rob Valentino took over on an interim basis before the club hired Gonzalo Pineda as head coach on August 12. 

Pineda signed with United after serving as the Seattle Sounders’ assistant coach for five seasons.

7. Toronto FC - Chris Armas

Chris Armas
Armas prior to his departure / Elsa/Getty Images

The first head-coaching change of the 2021 season came on July 4 when Toronto FC relieved Chris Armas of his duties after just 11 matches. ,

Javier Perez was named head coach for the remainder of the season. Toronto FC have not provided a coaching update since.

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