Fire Parts Ways with Manager Veljko Paunovic

Veljko Paunovic. Photo by Eric Canha/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Chicago Fire will look a lot different next season. After previously saying goodbye to several key players, including star midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, the team now also parted ways with manager Veljko Paunovic.

Fire announced their decision to fire Paunovic on Wednesday, while also dismissing his coaching staff.

“Four years ago, Pauno and the staff accepted a challenge to help establish a football culture at the Fire,” said Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodriguez. “Their efforts helped revitalize the Club with a competitive spirit and a dedication to always putting football first. Pauno and his staff were relentless in their devotion to the Club and for that we are immeasurably thankful.”

Veljko Paunovic’s exit wasn’t widely anticipated around the league but it also wasn’t a huge surprise. Paunovic made only one trip to playoffs since taking over the team in 2015 and failed to capitalize on a talented team that had Schweinsteiger for three years. The 42-year-old Serbian will leave the team with a 41-58-37 record.

Besides Paunovic’s exit and roster reconstruction, Chicago Fire will have a number of other changes in 2020. They will enter the season with a new owner in Joe Mansueto, who purchased the club in September while moving to Soldier Field.