Frank Klopas

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Frank Klopas
Frank klopas.jpg
Personal information
Full name Fotios Klopas
Date of birth (1966-09-01) September 1, 1966 (age 47)
Place of birth Prosymna, Greece
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983-1988 Chicago Sting (indoor) 140 (62)
1988-1994 AEK Athens FC 49 (6)
1994-1996 Apollon Athens 10 (0)
1996-1997 Kansas City Wizards 54 (7)
1998-1999 Chicago Fire 45 (6)
Total 298 (81)
National team
1987-1995 United States 39 (12)
Teams managed
2004-2006 Chicago Storm
2011-2013 Chicago Fire
2013- Montreal Impact
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Fotios "Frank" Klopas (Greek: Φώτιος «Φρανκ» Κλόπας; born September 1, 1966) is a retired Greek-American soccer forward and midfielder, and current head coach and director of player personnel for the Montreal Impact. He went on to be a color commentator for Comcast SportsNet Chicago for Fire television broadcasts before rejoining the Fire as technical director in 2008. Klopas was the Head Coach for the Chicago Fire from 2011 until 2013.

Player[edit]

Youth[edit]

Klopas emigrated to the United States when he was eight years old and received U.S. citizenship on his 18th birthday. He and his family settled in Chicago, where he attended and played boys soccer, at Mather High School, which he led to the Chicago Public League championship his senior year.

Professional[edit]

In 1983, he signed with the Chicago Sting of the North American Soccer League straight out of high school, but an injury led to him missing the team's final outdoor season. Klopas would play for the indoor Sting in the MISL for four seasons. He earned second team All Star honors during the 1986-1987 season. In 1988, Klopas moved to Greece to play with AEK Athens FC. He played four seasons with the team. However, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 1991. That injury and a subsequent infection hindered his playing for nearly two years. In 1992, Klopas signed a contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation to play full time for the United States men's national soccer team. After the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Klopas returned to Greece and signed with Apollon Athens in 1994 for the remainder of the 1994-1995 season,[1] as well as the 1995-1996 season.[2] He debuted with Apollon on January 7, 1995 against his former Greek club, AEK Athens FC. In 1996, Major League Soccer began developing teams for its inaugural season. In order to ensure an equitable distribution of talent to each team, MLS allocated known players to each team. MLS allocated Klopas to the Kansas City Wizards where he would spend two years. After being sent to the Columbus Crew just before the 1997 MLS Expansion Draft, he was traded on February 19, 1998 to the Chicago Fire for Jason Farrell, who had been selected from the Crew.[3] Klopas would play two years for Chicago before retiring, helping them to the MLS Cup in 1998 and the U.S. Open Cup to complete "The Double." In four years in MLS, Klopas scored 13 goals and added 16 assists. He had six goals and five assists in 40 games—24 starts—for the Fire, including both goals in a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the Fire's first ever game at Soldier Field on April 4, 1998. Klopas' most notable goal for the Fire came in Golden Goal overtime of a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew in the U.S. Open Cup Final on Oct. 30, 1998, at Soldier Field.

On January 25, 2000, Klopas announced his retirement from playing professional soccer. On June 5, 2004, the Fire inducted Klopas into the team's "Ring of Fire," which celebrates outstanding players and contributors to the organization. The team inducts one person a year, who is no longer affiliated with the club. Klopas is joined in the Ring of Fire by former players Peter Nowak and Lubos Kubik and former general manager Peter Wilt. He was inducted into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

National team[edit]

Klopas made his debut for the U.S. national team in 1987, coming on in a 2-0 Olympic Qualifying loss at Canada on May 23. Though this was technically his debut for the team, it isn't counted among his senior national team caps as Olympic play is not considered to be of full international status by FIFA even though many of the players that made up the side were full national team players. In total, Klopas earned five Olympic team appearances, scoring one goal in a 4-2 qualifying win at El Salvador on October 18, 1987 and helping the team qualify for the 1988 Olympics. Klopas would start and play the full 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw with hosts South Korea and a 4-2 loss to the Soviet Union as the U.S. failed to advance from their group.

Klopas made his full senior team debut when he came on as a halftime substitute for Chico Borja in a 2-0 friendly loss to Colombia in Miami on May 14, 1988.[4] He scored his first two international goals in a 5-1 defeat of Jamaica in St. Louis in the second leg of a home-and-home World Cup qualifying series on August 13, 1988.[5] Despite appearing in seven of 10 U.S. World Cup qualifiers for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Klopas did not make the trip to the team's 1-0 clinching victory over Trinidad & Tobago on November 19, 1989 because head coach Bob Gansler didn't think he was fit enough.[6] Subsequently, he was not included among the 22-man U.S. squad that went to Italy for the tournament.

Injuries and the fact that he was playing abroad in Greece at a time when the National Team was run like a club team limited Klopas to just three caps between 1990-1993. In early 1994, Klopas returned from surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament and began working towards a place on the hosting U.S. side's roster for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Under the guidance of Bora Milutinovic, the U.S. team took on a conservative, defensive approach in the lead-up to the tournament which was also predicated upon the fact that the side didn't have a lot of offensive weapons. Klopas returned to the national team on February 18, coming on as a halftime substitute for Joe-Max Moore in a 1-1 draw with Bolivia in Miami. Over the next few months, he continued to build his fitness up and scored his third international goal in the team's 3-0 friendly win over Moldova on April 20 in Davidson, N.C.

Klopas would go on to score five goals in the eight international friendlies the U.S. played immediately prior to the start of the World Cup, tallying against Iceland, Estonia, Armenia and his native Greece. He also scored a brace in a pre-World Cup friendly against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on May 22, 1994 and went on to make the U.S. roster.

Despite his recent strike rate, Klopas was left out of the starting 11 for the American's historic 1-1 draw vs. Switzerland and didn't appear in their opening match of the tournament played June 18 at the Pontiac Silverdome. Four days later, Klopas again didn't see the field as the U.S. upset pre-tournament favorites Colombia 2-1 at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif, putting the team in a great position to advance to the second round. With the U.S. team earning four of a possible six points from their first two matches, Milutinovic only made one lineup change throughout the group stage. The U.S. team's lack of offense was exposed in the group finale vs. Romania, falling 1-0 but still finishing as one of the tournament's best third place teams, which allowed them to advance to a Round of 16 date with Brazil on July 4.

After the lack of scoring chances created against Romania, Milutinovic's decision not to play Klopas was brought into question the day before the Knockout Round match, to which the Serbian manager said, "He can score, but what else?".[7] Klopas responded to Milutinovic's assessment of his play saying, "He said that? I don't know why he would feel that way. I can play wherever he needs me to play. This is the only time I've actually played striker. My five years in Greece, I played midfield and attacker. I'll play any position the team needs me to play. Where I am now, it's not my duty to defend."

Despite the suspension of starting midfielder John Harkes for the Brazil game and Tab Ramos leaving the game in the first half after catching an elbow from left back Leonardo, Klopas was not used in the match as Hugo Perez replaced Harkes in the starting lineup and Eric Wynalda came on for Ramos. The U.S. held well defensively but were undone by Bebeto's 72nd minute strike and fell 1-0 to the eventual champions at Stanford Stadium.

Despite not playing in the team's four biggest matches of the year, Klopas played in the team's remaining four friendlies in 1994 and scored three more goals to finish as the U.S. team's top goal scorer that year, tallying eight goals in 15 appearances.

Klopas' swan song with the U.S. team came the following year when he was named to the roster for the 1995 Copa América. He would appear in five of the team's six games and scored the first goal in a 3-0 shocker over Argentina on July 14, 1995, one of the biggest upsets in U.S. Soccer history. He also scored the game-winning goal in the penalty shootout against Mexico in the quarterfinals three days later. Just over a year after being knocked out of the World Cup, the Brazilians were once again responsible for the U.S. team's exit, sending them to a 1-0 semifinal defeat on July 20 in Maldonado, Uruguay. Klopas played in the team's final two friendlies that year, with his final appearance for the U.S. coming as an 80th minute substitute for Tab Ramos in a 4-3 win over Saudi Arabia on October 8, 1995 in Washington, D.C.

From 1988-1995, Klopas amassed 39 senior international caps, scoring 12 goals. At the end of 1995, Klopas sat fourth on the U.S. all-time goal scoring list behind Bruce Murray, Eric Wynalda and Hugo Perez. He now sits 15th on the list and holds the distinction of the U.S. player with the most goals scored without appearing in a FIFA World Cup match.

International Appearances[edit]

As of match played October 8, 1995.[8]
National Team Year Apps Starts Goals
United States
1988 6 5 2
1989 5 2 0
1990 1 0 0
1991 1 1 1
1992 0 0 0
1993 1 1 0
1994 15 12 8
1995 10 7 1
Total 39 28 12

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 August 13, 1988 St. Louis, Missouri  Jamaica 3–1 5-1 1990 World Cup qualifying
2 5–1
3 September 4, 1991 Istanbul, Turkey  Turkey 1–1 1–1 Friendly
4 April 20, 1994 Davidson, North Carolina  Moldova 1–0 3-0 Friendly
5 April 24, 1994 San Diego, California  Iceland 1–1 1–2 Friendly
6 May 7, 1994 Fullerton, California  Estonia 1–0 4–0 Friendly
7 May 15, 1994 Fullerton, California  Armenia 1–0 1–0 Friendly
8 May 28, 1994 New Haven, Connecticut  Greece 1–0 1-1 Friendly
9 October 19, 1994 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia  Saudi Arabia 1–1 1–2 Friendly
10 November 22, 1994 Kingston, Jamaica  Jamaica 2–0 3–0 Friendly
11 3–0
12 July 14, 1995 Paysandu, Uruguay  Argentina 1–0 3–0 1995 Copa America

Coach[edit]

In 2000, the Chicago Fire hired Klopas as the team's strength and conditioning trainer. After the 2000 MLS season, he resigned due to personal reasons. On June 2, 2004, he was named the head coach and general manager of MISL's expansion franchise Chicago Storm. He led the team to a playoff berth in its second season, but resigned on July 24, 2006. In January 2008, he was named the first Technical Director for the Chicago Fire. He was appointed the Fire's interim manager following the dismissal of Carlos de los Cobos on May 30, 2011.[9] Klopas earned his first MLS managerial win in a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew thirteen days later on June 12. The Fire finished the season 8-5-10 under Klopas, just missing the playoffs.

On November 3, 2011 the Chicago Fire announced Frank would become the new manager for the 2012 season.[10] On October 30, 2013, just 3 days after a decisive 5-2 loss on the final day of the 2013 season, in which the Fire needed 1 point to qualify for the playoffs, it was announced that Frank would be stepping down.

Frank Klopas is also a technical director of a youth soccer club in Chicago called F.C. Drive.[11]

On December 18, 2013, he was named head coach and director of player personnel of the Montreal Impact soccer club.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Klopas lives in Chicago with his wife, Sophia.

Coaching statistics[edit]

As of April 17, 2014
Team From To Record
G W T L Win %
Chicago Fire May 30, 2011 October 30, 2013 76 34 17 25 44.74
Montreal Impact December 18, 2013 present 6 0 3 3 00.00
Total 78 34 17 27 43.59

Honors[edit]

Chicago Sting

AEK

Chicago Fire

References[edit]

External links[edit]