Ezra Hendrickson Went From Caribbean To Chicago Fire Coach

Ezra Hendrickson is now the head coach of the Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire.
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Caribbean-born Ezra Hendrickson is now the head coach of the Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire.

Kokomo was nothing like the small village Ezra Hendrickson emigrated from when he was 13. Indiana is 2,400 miles from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but culturally it couldn’t be any further.

It was cold. He looked different. And to some of the other kids, having a Caribbean accent meant you talked a little funny.

And pizza? Never had that before.

Fast forward three decades and Hendrickson — whose “culture shock” became “love” for his adopted home state — is the head coach of the Chicago Fire. After 25 years in Major League Soccer — 12 as a player, 13 as an assistant — Hendrickson’s moment to lead a team has finally come.

“It’s a fun job,” Hendrickson, 50, said Wednesday during a conference call. “I like to teach these guys how I want them to play, my style of play, myself with the coaches and coaching staff, and then to go out and see that on display on a Saturday night, it brings joy to me.”

And when he stands on the Soldier Field touchline for the Fire’s home opener, it will be the latest step in a long journey from Layou that includes 15 trophies — and a high school basketball prowess that made him a star in Russiaville, Ind. Read more.

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