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Chicago Fire re-sign manager Veljko Paunovic to multi-year deal

Veljko Paunovic led the Fire to the playoffs in 2017.

The Chicago Fire have re-signed manager Veljko Paunovic to a multi-year contract extension, the club announced on Thursday.

Paunovic, 41, signed a two-year deal with a club option for a third.

"We believe the foundation we are setting and the standards we are demanding are the right ones in developing our championship program," said Chicago Fire president Nelson Rodriguez.

"Continuity is a critical element in that process and retaining [Paunovic] for the next few years as a leader in that effort was an important offseason objective."

Paunovic is entering his fourth season as manager of the Fire. Overall, he has recorded a regular season record of 31-46-25. Paunovic led the team to the playoffs in 2017, the team's first postseason appearance since 2012. But the team regressed in 2018, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference, and 18 points out of the sixth and final playoff spot.

"I feel excited about this project as I was the very first day three years ago when I became a part of the Chicago Fire Football family," said Paunovic. "I'm also very grateful for this new opportunity with the club and the values that I'm fully aligned and committed to representing in every city and field around the globe and US.

"I want to thank our fans for their passion, support and their devotion. My special thanks go for our ownership and GM Nelson Rodriguez who have been giving us the direction and all their support in good and bad times. It's all about the conviction, trust, and unity. Get ready to lift the trophy this year."

Paunovic's staff will also remain intact. This includes assistant coaches Marko Mitrovic and Eric Gehrig, Goalkeeper Coach Aleksandar Saric, strength and conditioning coach Petar Milcanovic, video analyst Nenad Babic and senior manager of team and soccer operations Alex Boler.

Prior to joining the Fire, Paunovic was the manager of Serbia's youth national teams from 2012 to 2015. He led Serbia's U20 team to the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup title where they beat Brazil in the final.

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