Chicago Fire Re-Sign Manager Veljko Paunovic to Multi-Year Extension

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

The Chicago Fire are sticking with Serbian manager Veljko Paunovic for the future, deciding to re-sign the 41-year-old to a two-year deal. Paunovic’s new contract also contains a club option for the third year.

Paunovic’s coaching staff, which includes assistant coaches Marko Mitrovic and Eric Gehrig, will also remain with the club.

“We believe the foundation we are setting and the standards we are demanding are the right ones in developing our championship program,” – said Chicago Fire president Nelson Rodriguez in a statement. “Continuity is a critical element in that process and retaining [Paunovic] for the next few years as a leader in that effort was an important offseason objective.”

Veljko Paunovic, who spent his early coaching career managing Serbia’s youth teams and managed to win FIFA U20 World Cup title, joined the Fire in 2015. After two below average seasons, he led the team to a playoff appearance in 2017, their first since 2012. He couldn’t repeat the same success in 2018, however, with Chicago finishing the season 10th in Eastern Conference.

“I feel excited about this project as I was the very first day three years ago when I became a part of the Chicago Fire Football family,” – said Paunovic after signing a new deal. “I’m also very grateful for this new opportunity with the club and the values that I’m fully aligned and committed to representing in every city and field around the globe and US.”