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FC Cincinnati is an American professional soccer club based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that plays in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS). The team succeeded the lower-division team of the same name and was announced on May 29, 2018, when MLS awarded an expansion franchise to Cincinnati.[3][4] The team began MLS play on March 2, 2019 with its first match against Seattle Sounders FC. The club's ownership group is led by Carl H. Lindner III with Jeff Berding serving as president and Gerard Nijkamp as general manager.

FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati primary logo 2018.svg
Full nameFootball Club Cincinnati[1]
Nickname(s)Orange and Blue
FoundedMay 29, 2018; 18 months ago (2018-05-29)[nb 1]
StadiumNippert Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
Capacity33,800[2]
OwnerCarl Lindner III
General managerGerard Nijkamp
Head coachRon Jans
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2019Eastern Conference: 12th
Overall: 24th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

HistoryEdit

The owners of the USL club began negotiations with Major League Soccer over a potential expansion franchise in early 2016, and Cincinnati was announced as one of ten cities that had expressed interest in the slots for teams 25 to 28.[5][6] MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited Cincinnati in December 2016 to tour Nippert Stadium and meet with city and club officials, complimenting the city and its fans.[7] FC Cincinnati formally submitted its expansion bid in January 2017, including a shortlist of potential stadium locations.[8]

On May 29, 2018, Major League Soccer announced that Cincinnati would join the league in 2019 as an expansion team under the FC Cincinnati brand.[9][3] The West End Stadium, a 26,000-seat soccer-specific venue in the West End, is scheduled to open in 2021.[3][10]

FC Cincinnati signed their first two MLS players, Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe, in July 2018. Adi was the team's first designated player.[11] Both players were loaned to the FC Cincinnati USL team for the remainder of the 2018 season.[12]

FC Cincinnati selected five players from certain MLS teams in the expansion draft, which took place on December 11, 2018.[13]

The players were Darren Mattocks (D.C United), Kei Kamara (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Roland Lamah (FC Dallas), Eric Alexander (Houston Dynamo), and Hassan Ndam (New York Red Bulls). Kei Kamara was then traded to the Colorado Rapids for an international roster spot.[14]

On May 7, 2019, the club fired head coach Alan Koch after a 2–7–2 start to the 2019 MLS season.[15] Assistant coach Yoann Damet was named as interim head coach. President and general manager Jeff Berding cited a culmination of on-field performance and off-field matters for the dismissal.[16]

On August 8, 2019, Ron Jans was officially hired and made Head Coach of FC Cincinnati.[17]

StadiumEdit

FC Cincinnati will play at Nippert Stadium while their new West End Stadium is being built.[3] The new stadium is expected to open in 2021.[18]

The West End Stadium will have a capacity between 25,500 and 26,500 making it one of the largest soccer-specific stadiums in Major League Soccer. The stadium will include a grass field as well as a full canopy roof that goes around the entire stadium bowl and covers all seated rows. The roof and facades will have Ethylene tetrafluoro-ethylene (ETFE) foil technology which can be used to light up the stadium during events. The design for the inside bowl of the stadium incorporates a cut-out feature in the southeast corner that will give spectators a clear view of the Cincinnati skyline from their seats. In the north end of the stadium will be the FC Cincinnati's supporters section, The Bailey, which will be almost twice as large as the current supporters section at Nippert Stadium. Many new premium seating and entertainment options will be available to fans that include multiple club seating options and suite configurations. The needs of the players played a major role in the design of the team areas that include the team room and medical facilities. The West End Stadium will meet all requirements to host CONCACAF and FIFA events. The stadium will be an enticing location to play for international club teams during their American tours and friendlies in their offseason. Furthermore, Cincinnati is one of the final twenty three host city candidates for the 2026 World Cup.[19]

Colors and badgeEdit

FC Cincinnati's primary colors are orange and blue. The secondary colors are gray, dark blue, and white. The home jersey is blue, orange, and white. The away jersey is white and black.[20]

An updated crest was designed after they were accepted as an expansion team to Major League Soccer. It maintains the same orange and blue color scheme but now pays tribute to the city of Cincinnati.[21]

SponsorshipEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Ref.
2019–present Adidas[22] Mercy Health Partners [3]

FC Cincinnati reached a multiyear deal with First Financial Bank to serve as the club's exclusive banking and financial services partner. First Financial will gain many benefits from this partnership. There will be a First Financial Gate as well as a premium club area at the new stadium. They will also be involved in planning community events, fan experiences and game-day activities.[23]

Club cultureEdit

The club recognizes the following supporters' groups: Die Innenstadt, the Pride, Queen City Firm, the Bridge (formerly the Legion), the Briogáid (formerly the Bailey Bastards), Auxilia One (based in New York City), and Hangar 937 (based in Dayton, Ohio).[24]

RivalriesEdit

 
The "Hell Is Real" sign on Interstate 71 between Cincinnati and Columbus

Cincinnati has an in-state rival in Columbus Crew.[25] The idea of the Ohio soccer rivalry first gained popularity ahead of a 2017 U.S. Open Cup match between FC Cincinnati (then in the United Soccer League) and the Crew. The rivalry was dubbed the Hell Is Real Derby after a billboard on Interstate 71, the highway between Columbus and Cincinnati.[26][27] The clubs will face off in their first-ever league matches in 2019: on August 10 in Columbus and August 25 in Cincinnati (the latter match will take place during MLS Rivalry Week).[28]

FCC also retains a heated rivalry from its USL days with current USL club Louisville City FC. The two teams most recently played each other in the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, 2019.[29]

OwnershipEdit

 
General manager Jeff Berding, MLS commissioner Don Garber, club owner Carl Lindner III, and Cincinnati mayor John Cranley at the MLS franchise announcement in 2018

Former Cincinnati Bengals executive Jeff Berding is the president.[30] The CEO and majority owner of the team is Carl Lindner III, CEO of American Financial Group, with Scott Farmer also a leading owner.[31][32]

In November 2019, Meg Whitman purchased a minority stake in the club.[33] Whitman will serve as the club’s Alternate Governor on the MLS Board of Governors.

In May 2019, Dutch football executive Gerard Nijkamp joined the club as general manager to oversee all the club’s sports activities. Nijkamp will be reporting to Berding.[34]

MediaEdit

On January 30, 2019, FC Cincinnati reached an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group to have WSTR-TV televise all home and away games, except for ones already scheduled to be broadcast nationally. Continuing from their roles on the former USL team, Tom Gelehrter calls play-by-play with Kevin McCloskey as color analyst. Lindsay Patterson serves as sideline reporter.[35]

Players and staffEdit

RosterEdit

As of November 20, 2019[36][37]
No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Kendall Waston   Costa Rica
4 Defender Greg Garza   United States
6 Midfielder Leonardo Bertone    Switzerland
9 Forward Fanendo Adi (DP)   Nigeria
11 Forward Darren Mattocks   Jamaica
13 Goalkeeper Jimmy Hague   United States
14 Defender Nick Hagglund   United States
15 Midfielder Allan Cruz   Costa Rica
17 Defender Mathieu Deplagne   France
18 Goalkeeper Spencer Richey   United States
21 Defender Logan Gdula   United States
22 Goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń   Poland
23 Defender Maikel van der Werff   Netherlands
24 Midfielder Frankie Amaya (GA)   United States
26 Midfielder Tommy McCabe   United States
27 Midfielder Fatai Alashe   United States
31 Forward Kekuta Manneh   Gambia
33 Midfielder Caleb Stanko   United States
36 Midfielder Joe Gyau   United States
39 Goalkeeper Ben Lundt   Germany
47 Defender Hassan Ndam   Cameroon
81 Forward Rashawn Dally   Jamaica
96 Defender Andrew Gutman (HG; on loan from Celtic)   United States
Defender Saad Abdul-Salaam   United States
Midfielder Haris Medunjanin   Bosnia and Herzegovina
Forward Brandon Vazquez   United States

Technical staff Edit

Title Name
President Jeff Berding
General manager Gerard Nijkamp
Head coach Ron Jans
Assistant coach Yoann Damet
Assistant coach Ivar van Dinteren
Goalkeeping coach Jack Stern
Director of sports performance       Gary Walker
Director of sports medicine Aaron Powell
Strength & conditioning coach        Austin Berry
Video analyst Diego Martinez del Campo
Head of scouting Hunter Freeman
Regional scout Doug Elder
Manager of team personnel Tommy Rogers
Data and analytics Alexander Schram

Last updated: November 12, 2019
Source: FC Cincinnati

Head coachesEdit

Name Nation Years
Alan Koch   South Africa February 17, 2017;– May 7, 2019
Yoann Damet (interim)   France May 7, 2019 – August 4, 2019
Ron Jans   Netherlands August 4, 2019 – present

Club captainsEdit

Years Name Nation
2019 Kendall Waston   Costa Rica

Player recordsEdit

As of October 8, 2019[38], includes both the MLS and US Open Cup competitions

Most appearancesEdit

Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1   Mathieu Deplagne 2019–present 33 0 2 0 35
2   Kekuta Manneh 2019–present 29 0 2 0 31
3   Roland Lamah 2019 28 0 0 0 28
  Víctor Ulloa 2019 26 0 2 0 28
  Emmanuel Ledesma 2019 26 0 2 0 28
6   Leonardo Bertone 2019–present 25 0 1 0 26
7   Kendall Waston 2019–present 25 0 0 0 25
  Caleb Stanko 2019–present 23 0 2 0 25
9   Nick Hagglund 2019–present 22 0 2 0 24
10   Allan Cruz 2019–present 22 0 0 0 22

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.

GoalsEdit

Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1   Allan Cruz 2019–present 7 0 0 0 7
2   Emmanuel Ledesma 2019 6 0 0 0 6
3   Kekuta Manneh 2019–present 4 0 1 0 5
4   Darren Mattocks 2019–present 3 0 0 0 3
5   Fanendo Adi 2019–present 1 0 1 0 2
6   Kendall Waston 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
  Leonardo Bertone 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
  Roland Lamah 2019 1 0 0 0 1
  Mathieu Deplagne 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
  Fatai Alashe 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
  Kenny Saief 2019 1 0 0 0 1
  Rashawn Dally 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
  Víctor Ulloa 2019 1 0 0 0 1

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.

Most shutoutsEdit

Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1   Przemysław Tytoń 2019–present 3 0 0 0 3
2   Spencer Richey 2019–present 2 0 0 0 2

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.

RecordEdit

Year-by-yearEdit

Year MLS Regular Season Position MLS Cup
Playoffs
U.S. Open Cup Champions
League
League Top Scorer
P W L D GF GA Pts Conf. Overall Player Goals
2019 34 6 22 6 31 75 24 12th 24th Did not qualify Round of 16 Not eligible   Allan Cruz 7
2020 Not eligible

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ MLS franchise awarded in 2018 but did not begin play until 2019. FC Cincinnati played in the USL and was founded in 2016.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weingartner, Tana. "Football Club Cincinnati: Check Out FC Cincinnati's New Branding". Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  2. ^ "Record Crowd Watches FCC Take on Crystal Palace". FCCincinnati.com. MLS Digital. July 16, 2016. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Cincinnati awarded MLS expansion club, will start play in 2019". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. May 29, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "FC Cincinnati to join MLS as expansion team". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures, LLC. May 29, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Couch, Ben (December 15, 2016). "MLS announces expansion process and timeline". MLSsoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "FC Cincinnati 'in talks' with Major League Soccer, but no solid plan in the works". WCPO. April 23, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Hatch, Charlie (December 4, 2016). "MLS Commissioner Don Garber impressed by Cincinnati after midweek tour". MLSsoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Brennan, Patrick (January 31, 2017). "FC Cincinnati submits expansion bid to MLS". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  9. ^ Brennan, Patrick (May 29, 2018). "It's official: FC Cincinnati has joined MLS, will begin play in 2019". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Watkins, Steve (March 22, 2018). "Here's when FC Cincinnati plans to begin play in new stadium". Cincinnati Business Journal. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  11. ^ "FC Cincinnati signs Fanendo Adi, Fatai Alashe ahead of MLS move". ESPN. July 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Cincinnati Bolsters Squad with Adi, Alashe". uslsoccer.com. July 31, 2018.
  13. ^ "FC Cincinnati can select 5 major league players for inaugural roster". November 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Bogart, Tom (December 11, 2018). "2018 Expansion Draft Results: FC Cincinnati pick, trade big names".
  15. ^ "Club Dismisses Head Coach Alan Koch". FC Cincinnati. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  16. ^ Brennan, Patrick (May 7, 2019). "FC Cincinnati dismises Alan Koch as head coach". Gannett Company. The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "Ron Jans named Head Coach". FC Cincinnati. August 4, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  18. ^ Knight, Cameron (October 19, 2018). "FC Cincinnati stadium will break ground Dec. 19, open March 2021". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "West End Stadium".
  20. ^ Watkins, Steve (February 11, 2019). "FC Cincinnati unveils jerseys for MLS".
  21. ^ Bava, John (November 12, 2018). "FC Cincinnati Unveils Updated Crest Ahead of Inaugural MLS Season".
  22. ^ "Major League Soccer and adidas extend landmark partnership through 2024". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. August 2, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  23. ^ Watkins, Steve (January 16, 2019). "FC Cincinnati".
  24. ^ "Supporters' Groups". FCCincinnati.com. MLS Digital. March 26, 2019.
  25. ^ Reed, Tom (June 14, 2017). "It's feeling real in Cincinnati". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Murphy, Pat (June 14, 2017). "Massive Predictions: Hell is Real – Will Hell freeze over or take over Columbus following this U.S. Open Cup Derby?". Massive Report. SB Nation. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  27. ^ Hatch, Charlie (June 14, 2017). "'HELL IS REAL,' and so is FC Cincinnati's threat to Columbus". FourFourTwo. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  28. ^ "FCC's Inaugural MLS Schedule Released". FCCincinnati.com. MLS Digital. January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "Lou City rivalry is still "huge"". FCCincinnati.com. MLS Digital. June 11, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Kay, Joe (May 29, 2018). "FC Cincinnati to join MLS in 2019 as league's latest expansion team". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  31. ^ Strauss, Brian (February 1, 2017). "MLS expansion city profile: Cincinnati". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  32. ^ Watkins, Steve (May 23, 2018). "FC Cincinnati owner Lindner on MLS bid: 'I think we're going to get over the finish line'". Cincinnati Business Courier.
  33. ^ Soshnick, Scott (November 27, 2019). "Meg Whitman's Stake Values Cincinnati Soccer Team at $500 Million". Bloomberg News.
  34. ^ "Gerard Nijkamp Hired as General Manager". FC Cincinnati. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  35. ^ "WSTR Star64 Announced As Local Broadcast Partner". FCCincinnati.com (Press release). MLS Digital. January 30, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  36. ^ "Roster". FCCincinnati.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  37. ^ "Club announces roster decisions for 2020 season". FCCincinnati.com. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  38. ^ "Stats FC Cincinnati". FCCincinnati.com. Retrieved October 8, 2019.