Thursday February 22 11:39 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Chicago Fire Soccer Club Announces Executive Leadership Moves


"After a thorough review of our operations and completing a comprehensive search process, we believe Nelson and John are the perfect duo to lead our club," said Chicago Fire Owner and Chairman Andrew Hauptman. "From the moment I met Nelson, I knew he was the right leader for the club. Over the past several years, he has created an exceptional foundation and culture for a top-tier club, on and off the field. I am delighted that he is taking on this expanded role, and am equally thrilled that John is joining as our chief operating officer."

Urban will oversee the club's business operations. Most recently, as vice president of the attractions division at Legends (a partnership of the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys), he oversaw the successful launch and operations of One World Observatory atop One World Trade Center in New York.

"John brings significant experience including revenue generation, branding, marketing, and infrastructure development, and is the ideal partner for Nelson in further strengthening our club," Hauptman said.

Throughout his career, Urban has held a number of senior roles in the sports and entertainment sectors, including a two-decade span in various management and operational roles at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. Prior to Legends, he led events and business development for Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues.

"I am excited to join Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Major League Soccer," Urban said. "I was immediately attracted by ownership's vision of the club, commitment to winning and to my family's own affinity for the city. I look forward to working with Nelson, the staff, our partners and fans, adding to the rich tradition and success of the club."

Rodríguez joined the Fire as General Manager in September 2015, and propelled the club forward with strategic hires and signings, helping the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. Notable acquisitions include the addition of coach Veljko Paunovic in 2015, and subsequent signings of World Cup winner and ex-German national team captain, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Hungarian international forward Nemanja Nikolic, and U.S. national team midfielder, Dax McCarty.

"I am grateful to Andrew for his continued trust and support as we grow a world-class organization," stated Rodríguez. "Serving as president and general manager of this club is a great honor and privilege and I will do my very best to continue building a sustainable, championship program for our city."

Rodríguez's promotion takes immediate effect, with Urban scheduled to begin in February.

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club was founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, and celebrated its 20th season in Major League Soccer in 2017. The Fire have won six major domestic championship titles, including the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, as well as the 2003 Supporters Shield. The Club's charitable arm, the Chicago Fire Foundation, was recognized as 2016 Beyond Sport Team of the Year and 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Sport Team of the Year. As part of the national It's Everyone's Game campaign, the Fire have committed to assist in the construction of 50 mini-pitches in underserved neighborhoods throughout the Chicagoland area in the next five years. Anchoring Chicago's growing soccer fan base, the Fire play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., located 15 miles from Chicago's Loop.