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MLS 2020: Your team-by-team preview

Major League Soccer
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Sources: Chicago Fire to make ex-FC Basel exec Georg Heitz sporting director

Alejandro Moreno explains why MLS is hopeful expansion side Charlotte can follow Atlanta United's lead.
Don Garber revels in MLS' Southeast expansion after announcing Charlotte will join the league in 2021.

The Chicago Fire are set to hire Georg Heitz as its sporting director, sources confirmed to ESPN.

The Athletic was the first to report the move. Sources told ESPN that an announcement is expected as early as Friday.

Heitz, 50, was previously the sporting director of Swiss side FC Basel from 2009 to 2017, a period in which Basel won eight consecutive league titles as well as three Swiss Cups. Basel also reached the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and 2015, and made it to the semifinals of the Europa League in 2013. Among the players signed by Heitz was Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who made his first foray in Europe with Basel in 2012.

Heitz's imminent hiring is the latest in a series of moves on the Fire's technical side since Joe Mansueto acquired full control of the team back in September. Manager Veljko Paunovic was fired last month, with GM Nelson Rodriguez moving to a purely business role after overseeing technical matters for parts of the previous five seasons.

In terms of the Fire's roster, the offseason has witnessed the retirement of icon Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as the departure of forward Nemanja Nikolic and the trading of midfielder Dax McCarty to expansion side Nashville SC.

Heitz was most recently a partner in the consulting firm Heusler Werthmuller Heitz.

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