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Bob Bradley Steps Down as Fire Head Coach; Fire Acquires Brazilian Forward Rodrigo Faria

October 22, 2002 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

CHICAGO, IL (Tuesday, October 22, 2002) - Bob Bradley, the Chicago Fire's only head coach in five years and the all-time winningest coach in Major League Soccer (MLS) history, resigned today to take on the head coaching duties for MLS's MetroStars. In exchange for Bradley, who had one year remaining in his contract, the Fire acquired Brazilian forward Rodrigo Faria and an undisclosed draft pick in 2004 from the MetroStars. The Fire's search for a new head coach is already underway.

During his tenure with Chicago, Bradley, a New Jersey native, helped establish the Fire as one of the elite teams in MLS, registering an impressive 82-54-15 record and helping the team capture MLS Cup '98 and the 1998 and 2000 U.S. Open Cup championships. Bradley, who helped the Fire to every playoff race since its inaugural season in 1998, also garnered back-to-back division titles in 2000 and 2001. Under his leadership, the "Men in Red" reached MLS Cup 2000, but lost to the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

"My family and I truly appreciate the opportunity we have had in Chicago the past five years," said Bradley. "It is a difficult decision to leave the Fire. My thanks go out to Peter Wilt, the players and the entire Chicago soccer community for their tremendous support they have shown me during this period."

Bradley, 44, joined the Fire in October 1997 as the team's first head coach after serving as the top assistant coach for now U.S. National Team head coach Bruce Arena at D.C. United, helping the team to the first-ever MLS titles in 1996 and 1997. On October 25, 1998, Bradley's Fire stunned Arena's D.C. United in the MLS Cup Final, as the expansion Fire dethroned the former champions 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The Fire became the first expansion team to win a championship in its first year of operation.

"I will miss Bob personally and professionally," said Fire GM Peter Wilt. "I respect Bob tremendously and cannot fully describe what he has meant to this organization and the area's soccer community. We have allowed him this well-earned opportunity to support his desire to go back to New Jersey to be close to his family and his roots. His hard work, dedication and professionalism will be missed. We wish him well in his new challenge. We're moving quickly to select Bob's replacement. The new head coach will have big shoes to fill."

The move ends Bradley's tenure among current coaches as the longest serving coach on the Chicago sports scene and the longest serving coach with the same team in MLS.

Faria, the 2001 MLS Rookie of the Year, comes to Chicago after spending the last two seasons with the MetroStars. The Rio de Janeiro native and Senior International has made 49 MLS appearances - all with the MetroStars - knocking in 20 goals and seven assists for 47 total points. He played in all 28 games in 2002, and was crowned the scoring champion after leading the team with 12 goals and five assists for 29 points.

"This is a major step in my career," said Faria. "It's very exciting to join the team I feel is the best team in the league. Since I arrived in MLS two years ago and while playing with the MetroStars, I always found Chicago to be one of the toughest teams to play. I'm certainly happy to be with this team now. This move will be a big challenge in my life, but I feel confident in my abilities as a player and I'm very hopeful that I'll be able to help the Fire win another championship. My style is to play up front and I like scoring goals. I'm looking forward to meeting my new coach and my new team very soon."

"Rodrigo is a talented young forward who will be a key part of the Fire's future," said Wilt. "His arrival prepares us for the retooling of the team necessitated by the salary budget. We spoke last night and I'm pleased to know that he is excited for his new opportunity in Chicago."

Bradley will serve as the Fire's Head Coach for the team's international friendly versus Jorge Campos and Cub Puebla of the Mexican First Division on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 pm at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville. The game will serve as Bradley's final appearance on the Fire's bench. Tickets for the game are on sale now and range from $20-$35 and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212, or at any Ticketmaster outlet or visiting Tickets may also be purchased at the Chicago Fire offices, 980 N. Michigan, Suite 1998, Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Full season ticket holders must use Bonus Game D tickets for this game. For more information or for group discounts, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE.

Rodrigo Faria
Position: Forward
Height: 6'1" (1.86 m)
Weight: 150 lbs. (68 kg)
Born: February 24, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hometown: Bronxville, New York
Citizenship: Brazil
College: Concordia College
Last Club: MetroStars (MLS)
How Acquired: Acquired from the MetroStars on October 22, 2002 with an undisclosed draft pick in 2004 as compensation for Head Coach Bob Bradley
Pro Outdoor Experience: MetroStars, MLS (2001-02); Vasco da Gama's Junior Team (Brazil, 1994-95); Flamengo's Youth Team (Brazil, 1985-93)

MLS Career: Acquired by the Fire after the 2002 season as compensation for Head Coach Bob Bradley, Faria has established himself into a rugged, hardworking forward that tires the opposing defense and scores key goals. Drafted by the MetroStars with the 13th pick overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft, Faria went on to win the 2001 MLS Rookie of the Year award scoring eight goals and two assists for 18 points. Faria followed up that season by leading the Metros in scoring in 2002 with 12g, 5a for 29 points. He has totaled 49 games played with 36 starts, knocking in 20 goals and seven assists for 47 points. 2002: Finished first on team with career-high 29 points (12G, 5A) in 28 appearances (25 starts)...Scored the lone goal (6') and subbed out for Chronopoulos (60') in the 2-1 loss at DC (9/14)...Scored his career-high 10th and 11th goals of the season in the 3-1 win over Dallas (9/5)...Assisted on game-winning goal (92'+) against DC (8/25)... Recorded a secondary assist and six shots on goal in the 3-1 loss to Dallas (8/17)...Sent off in 8/14 friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara for arguing Petke's ejection...Has scored in four games in a row against Columbus, after burying a penalty (49') for the lone Metro goal in the 2-1 U.S. Open Cup loss to the Crew (8/7)...Scrambled home the opening goal of 3-2 loss vs. Columbus (7/31). Tied his own 2002 mark for earliest goal scored (3')...Recorded most prolific offensive game of MLS career in 3-1 win at Kansas City (7/24). Opened the scoring with a left-footed volley (22') before setting up Diallo's goal four minutes later with a header. Faria sealed the match in second half stoppage time, again using his left foot for a one-timer...Played the full 90' in a 4-3 win against New England (7/20)...Scored GWG ('76) in 1-0 road win at Hampton Roads in U.S. Open Cup (7/16)...Opened scoring against Columbus (7/6), flicking an Andy Williams corner kick to the far post with a solid header (5') in a 3-2 win...Missed PK (48') in 2-0 loss at Dallas (7/4), his first failed attempt after two successful PK's...Attempted career-high seven shots in the 1-0 home loss to Colorado (6/26)...Scored game-winning goal in 81' at Chicago (6/22). Second on team with five goals and two assists for 12 point...Scored two goals in 3-2 home exhibition win over Boca Juniors (6/19). ...Scored his fourth goal of the season off a PK in the '3 in the 4-2 road loss at DC United (5/18)...Scored his first career goal on a PK (50') in the 2-1 road loss at San Jose (5/11)...Notched an assist on a Davis goal (78') in the 2-1 road win at Colorado (4/13)...Scored second goal of the season ('69) as he split the defense and received a perfect pass from Villegas inside the box in the 2-1 OT road win at Columbus (4/6)... Scored his first goal ('53) of the season in 3-1 home opener win over NE (3/23)... 2001: Notched 8g, 2a for 18 points in winning the 2001 Kellogg's Rookie of the Year award... Top scorer among all MLS rookies... Tied rookie record held by Jeff Cunningham (CLB '98) & Josh Wolff (CHI '98) with eights goals... Led the MetroStars in goals with eight and ranked second in points (18) behind Clint Mathis... Named three times to the Soccer America Team of the Week... Scored first Metro goal in 3-2 win at Miami (8/25)... Recorded his first MLS start in the 3-1 home loss to Tampa Bay (4/21)...2001 PLAYOFFS: Became first rookie in league history to score two goals in a playoff game during 4-1 Game 2 victory vs. LA (9/26)... Scored lone Metro goal (29') in Game 1 tie at LA (9/23).

Professional Career: Began playing professionally at the age of eight when he joined the youth team of famed club Flamengo in his native Brazil... At the age of 16 joined rival Vasco da Gama's Junior Club, where he played for two years before his father asked him to drop soccer in favor of improving his school studies.

College: Arrived in the United States in 1999 to study the English language at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York... Played for Concordia College (Division II) in 1999, totaling 22 goals and 10 assists for 54 total points... Named the 1999 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference (NYCAC) Rookie of the Year, helping Concordia to a 15-4 record and a number 24 national ranking in NCAA Division II... Faria was also named to the 1999 NYCAC Men's Soccer All-Conference team... Played for Team U.S.A in the 2000 Copa Latina, where he scored all four goals in a 4-2 win over Brazil...The four-goal performance caught the MetroStars attention, and he was invited to play on the MetroStars-sponsored reserve team New York/New Jersey Stars. As a result, he did not return to play at Concordia College, but still lives in the Bronxville area where the school is located.

Personal: Is fluent in Portuguese and English...Speaks some Spanish...Played on the reserve team MetroStars Black prior to being drafted with the 13th pick overall by the MetroStars in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft...Favorite show is "Everybody Loves Raymond"...Enjoys working out and staying home and watching films on DVD...Favorite soccer players are Argentina's Diego Armando Maradona and Brazil's Romario.

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