HARRISON, N.J. – Perhaps the Red Bulls should be known as the Chicago Fire East, as far as their coaching and technical staff goes.
The MLS team Tuesday added C.J. Brown its coaching staff, the club announced Tuesday.
Brown, a longtime MLS player and former Fire player, joined Chris Armas’ staff with nine years of coaching experience, including eight seasons as an assistant in the league.
Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett was an assistant coach and head coach in Chicago. Armas also performed for the Windy City side and was an assistant coach for one season. Former New York head coach Jesse Marsch who departed to become an assistant coach with RB Leipzig last week, also played for the Fire
A native of Eugene, Ore., Brown had a 13-year professional career, including 10 seasons alongside Armas. Both were part of the inaugural Fire team that won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup in 1998, a side that went on to win a Supporters’ Shield and three more U.S. Open Cups as teammates.
“I’m excited to add C.J. to my staff,” Armas said. “From the early days of Major League Soccer, we spent many incredible years together, learning what real teams are about. C.J. is a winner and a great competitor. Those qualities, along with his experience and work ethic, have turned him into a great coach. He knows our conference and league, he knows our team, and he knows what it takes to win. We’re looking forward to getting C.J. quickly integrated with our team and our way of doing things.”
Brown’s time in Chicago included two seasons during Hamlett’s head coaching tenure in 2008 and 2009. Hamlett was also an assistant with the Fire from 1998 through 2007. Brown was the seventh member of Chicago’s Ring of Fire, and the third player inducted. After retiring, the center back transitioned into coaching, including stints with Real Salt Lake, the Chicago Fire, New York City FC and Orlando City.
“As C.J.’s coach, I watched him develop from a good young player into a true leader,” Hamlett said. “He has a great mind for the game, he understands Major League Soccer, and he’s a proven winner. I know his experience will be an asset to Chris and the rest of our staff.”
After Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at NYCFC, the Red Bulls return home to host Sporting Kansas City Saturday at 7 p.m.