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Academy Staff

Introducing your Chicago Fire Soccer Technical and Support Staff

Cedric Cattenoy

Cedric Cattenoy, Academy Technical Director

Cattenoy joins the Fire after most recently serving as the head coach of the Paris Saint-Germain Academy, a role he began in 2001. During that time, Cattenoy was tasked with developing the PSG method internationally, overseeing the training programs for the academy teams and training coaches in France and abroad. Cattenoy has helped produce more than 70 professional players, including Olympique Lyon forward and French U-21 international Moussa Dembélé as well as Bayern Munich winger and French international Kingsley Coman, recently a finalist for the Young Player of the Tournament Award at UEFA Euro 2016. Cattenoy will oversee the development and implementation of the Fire Academy’s curriculum, guide player and staff development, and work together with the first team staff to ensure continuity from the player development system up to the pro level. Cattenoy holds his UEFA “A” and youth licenses, an executive masters from the National Institution of Sports and Performance Expertise, his B.E.E.S. second degree football coach diploma and his goalkeeper coach qualifications.

Cedric Cattenoy

Phone: 872-710-0445

Brian Roberts, Academy Director of PASS and Head of Operations

Brian has served as the Chicago Fire’s Senior Manager of Youth Development since 2012, during which his operational and technical programs have impacted over 14,000 players and 350 coaching staff in 10 Fire Juniors youth soccer clubs on an annual basis. Since joining the Fire in 2010, Brian has also held down roles as an interim director of coaching as well as player development manager. Brian joined the Fire after serving as the National Director of Coaching for Major League Soccer camps from 2007-10. Roberts holds a Prozone performance analysis certification, a U.S. Soccer Federation B License, a UEFA B License, was a PE teacher for seven years and holds a BA BSC in Physical Education/ Sports Science and Theology.

Brian Roberts

Phone: 872-710-0453

Jeff DeGroot, Staff Coach (U17)

DeGroot joins the Academy staff after spending one season as an assistant coach with Loyola University Chicago.  Prior to that he spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Chicago. In addition to his college roles, he spent the last four years with GLSA FC 1974 and was the Director of Coaching for the u11-u15 premier program. DeGroot played college soccer at DePaul University.  Following his collegiate career, he went on to play for the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL. DeGroot, a native of Mt. Prospect, Ill., holds his USSF A License.


Jeff DeGroot

Phone: 872-710-0443

Ludovic Taillandier, Staff Coach (U16)

Taillandier is a UEFA A and UEFA A Youth Elite licensed coach who comes to the Fire with 18 years of experience as a head coach. Born outside Paris, France, Taillandier joined the Fire following time spent as the Technical Director at the French Soccer Institute of California (2013-19). While there, Taillandier additionally served as the Technical Director of the Football Club of Los Angeles and coached their Under-10 and Under-12 teams, while also acting as head coach of the Total Futbol Academy’s U-11, U-13, and U-18 teams. Prior to that, Taillandier was the Academy Director at French Ligue 1 side Amiens SC (2010-13), while also coaching their U-19 and U-17 teams. As a player, Taillandier played professionally at Paris Saint-Germain with their U-16, U-18 and Pro 2 sides, as well as with Tours FC. He additionally represented France on the youth level with the U-16/U-17 teams.

Ludovic Taillandier

Phone: 872-710-0444

Selim Talbi, Staff Coach (u15)

Talbi joins the Fire after coaching for Empire United in Western NY as a Development Academy head coach. With Empire, in 2016, he also launched and ran the strength and conditioning program. During his time in WNY Talbi was also the head coach at Hilbert College and spent time as the assistant coach at Niagara University. In France, for five years, he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Aviron Bayonnais Soccer Club (Division III), and, with the same club, he coached multiple boy’s teams.  Before that, he was the head coach of the Division II women's team in Blanc Mesnil.  Talbi holds a USSF “A-Youth” and a UEFA "A" Coaching License. He is also a Strength and Conditioning Specialist holding his “CSCS” through the NSCA and a European diploma “DUEPP” from the University of Lyon, France. Talbi also received a master's degree in research and training from the French National Institute of Sport (INSEP).

Selim Talbi

Phone: 872-710-0448

Michael Barshai, Staff Coach (u14)

Barshai has coached locally at the collegiate, high school and youth level for close to 20 years. He served as Assistant Head Coach at Concordia university, which he helped lead to conference title in 2005. He then moved on to coaching youth full time at Glenview and Northbrook, where he also served as Technical Director for Glenview SC. In 2015 he helped lead NSCDS to a conference title and received the ISL Coach of the Year award. Barshai is also a member of the Illinois ODP coaching staff and a member of the USL/PDL Scouting Network.
Barshai started playing with youth programs at Spartak Moscow, and then moved on to play for several local clubs. After moving to the United States with his family, he continued playing in clubs and leagues around Chicago, until deciding to focus fully on coaching soccer. Barshai holds a USSF A License and NSCAA Premier Diploma.


Michael Barshai

Phone: 872-710-0441

Ross Brady, Staff Coach (U13)

Brady joined the Fire after three seasons at Northern Illinois University, where he served as full-time assistant coach as well as the Director of Coaching for Northern Illinois FC (2013-14). Prior to that, Brady was as an assistant coach at Hastings College in 2011-12. Brady holds at USSF A License and National Youth License from the United States Soccer Federation, as well as a Goalkeeping Level I and II Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He played collegiately at Lambuth College, graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Performance, and has a Masters Degree in Education from Hastings College in 2013.

Ross Brady

Phone: 872-710-0442

Igor Dimov, Head Goalkeeper Coach

A Macedonian international, Dimov’s playing career included appearances in the UEFA Europa League with FK FCU 55 of Macedonia in 2001-03. Since then, his influence as a goalkeeping coach has been wide-spread among the Chicagoland area. Dimov has held as many as five coaching roles at a time since 2008, with Chicago Fire North Juniors, Chicago Fire City Juniors, Chicago Fire West Juniors, Inferno Soccer Club, and Chicago Magic Academy having all employed his services in that time. Dimov has worked with every level from U-8 to U-18 and has a UEFA B-soccer coaching license.

Igor Dimov

Phone: 872-710-0453

Johnny Demergis, Head of Football School

Demergis holds a USSF B, UEFA B, Premier Diploma, and USSF National Youth License. He joins the Fire after serving as a colligate assistant coach and an assistant director of coaching with the Chicago Fire Juniors. Demergis arrived to Chicago by way of Denver where he was a member of the Colorado Rapids academy staff and taught physical education. He earned a BS in Physical Education/Health and a Masters in Sports Leadership. He played for the USL side San Diego Gauchos. 

Johnny Demergis

Phone: 872-710-0453

Kevin Isaac, Senior Coordinator

Isaac joined the Fire in 2016 after acting as an equipment manager with the U.S. Soccer Federation. Prior to that, he served as operations manager at the Sparta Dome in Indiana, where he was the director of youth soccer leagues and oversaw both scheduling and league expansion. Isaac additionally held match operations roles as an intern with the Seattle Reign of the NWSL and as an assistant at Valparaiso University, and has event experience with the Chicago Red Stars, U.S. Women’s National Team, and Copa America Centenario. Isaac played collegiately for one season at Hope College, before playing three seasons at FC Indiana of the NPSL.

Kevin Isaac

Phone: 872-710-0446

Stephanie Luebbe, Nova Care Athletic Trainer

2020 will be my first year as a full-time member of the athletic training staff with Chicago Fire FC. I spent the last 2 years at Hoffman Estates High School working with a wide range of  secondary school sports. 

I am originally from Grayslake, IL but spent the past 10 years in Minnesota. I completed my B.S. in Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota in 2016. I moved on to get my M.S. in Athletic Training at The College of St. Scholastica in 2018 and then decided to move back to the Chicago area. I am also a certified CPR/BLS instructor and train healthcare providers all around the Chicago area.


Stephanie Luebbe

Phone: Phone: 872-710-0453

Chris Toone, Nova Care Athletic Trainer

Chris joins the Chicago Fire FC as a full-time member of staff after four years working with professional ski racers. During that time, he spent three seasons with U.S. National Ski Team in which he provided medical care to some of the most elite alpine racers in the country. A fourth season was spent with a private team prior to making this transition to soccer.

Chris completed his B.S. in Athletic Training in 2013 at Ithaca College and went on to complete his M.S. in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Utah in 2015.  While at Utah his research pertained to developing sideline tests based on leg spring stiffness calculations in order to promote safe return to play.

Chris Toone

Phone: Phone: 872-710-0453

Felix Yu, PASS coordinator & Mental Performance Coach

Felix joins the Chicago Fire FC Academy as PASS Coordinator after spending 6 months with the organization as an extern.  He completed his Bachelor of Psychological Science degree from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

He then traveled to Chicago, IL to pursue a Masters degree, specifically Masters of Arts in Counseling: Specializing in Sport and Health Psychology program that he completed at Adler University between 2016 - 2018.  As a part of this dual program, he was required to complete an internship and externship, which meant that he received dual training both in a clinical setting and as a mental performance coach.

In addition to developing and delivering PASS content to the Chicago Fire Soccer Academy, he works on enhancing the mental performance of players/groups/teams at all age levels. 


Felix Yu

Phone: 872-710-0449

Matt Pearson, Academy Scout

Matt Pearson

Phone: 872-710-0453

Rachael Jankowsky, Academy Support Coordinator

After spending several years working and living in Haiti, Oman, and Ghana, Rachael Jankowsky returned to the US to pursue her graduate education. She is a student in University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and is a part of the Global Social Development Practice program of study. Rachael has an advanced TESOL Certification and has been a tutor on and off for the past 9 years. She has previously managed a post-quake housing development in Haiti, started a business in Oman, and assisted in the establishment of a secondary campus for a leading youth soccer academy in Ghana. Rachael is passionate about finding ideas that work well in one environment and adapting them to succeed in different contexts. She is currently focused on creating pathways for players to access to mental health and socio-emotional development supports in the world of youth soccer.

Rachael Jankowsky

Phone: 872-710-0451

Monique Ryan, Academy Nutritionist

Monique joined the Chicago Fire FC Academy in May of 2018 as a sports nutrition consultant. She maintains a private nutrition practice in Evanston, IL, Personal Nutrition Designs, LLC started in 1992 and works with all levels of athletes participating team sport, endurance, and skill sports. Monique has consulted with USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, several professional cycling teams including the Saturn Cycling Team and Team Type 1, and was a Subject Matter Expert for Ironman™. She is the author of Sports Nutrition for Team Sports, and Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes (3rd edition). Monique has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition. She is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist. She currently competes in triathlon and is a four time Ironman 70.3 finisher. Monique is working with the Chicago Fire First Team for the 2019 season. 


Monique Ryan

Phone: 847-864-8689

Academy Internship Program

Alan Masline

Alan Masline

Academy Internship

Phone: 872-710-0449