Chicago Fire announced on Friday that they have named Raphael Wicky as their new manager. Wicky, who is best known for his stint with Swiss powerhouse FC Basel, will succeed Veljko Paunovic who was fired at the end of 2019 MLS season.
Wicky is familiar with U.S. soccer, as he finished his professional career in MLS with Chivas USA in 2008. The 42-year-old also spent the previous year coaching United States U-17, helping the team qualify for FIFA U17 World Cup.
“Raphael, who is familiar with Chicago, has always wanted to coach in MLS,” said Fire’s general manager Georg Heitz in a statement. “Since he arrived in the U.S. and played here, he has become a student, learning about and studying MLS and what it takes to be successful in this League. We’re thrilled that he will be our new head coach.”
Raphael Wicky started his coaching career at the helm of FC Thun and Servette’s youth teams, before joining FC Basel in the same role in 2013. Wicky worked his way up and was named the manager of the first team in 2017.
Basel finished second in Swiss league in Wicky’s first season, which marked the end of their title-winning streak after eight trophies. The team, however, performed well in UEFA Champions League, reaching the Round of 16 for the first time in club history.
“I am honored and proud to be named the head coach of Chicago Fire FC,” said Wicky. “Chicago is a world-class sports city and this club has a bright future, both on and off the field. I can’t wait to get started.”