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FC Cincinnati acquires Caleb Stanko from Freiburg


FC Cincinnati’s busy offseason continued with the acquisition of U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Caleb Stanko on Wednesday.

The club announced they’ve signed Stanko from Bundesliga outfit SC Freiburg. Stanko will occupy an domestic roster spot after spending seven years in Germany. The deal comes after Goal reported on Tuesday that FCC was interested in the defensive midfielder’s services for 2019.

“We are happy to add Caleb to our roster,” FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch said. “We look for versatility in our central midfielders and we feel he can fill a number of roles depending on the personnel we have on the pitch. We look forward to Caleb competing immediately within our group.”

In his time with Freiburg, Freiburg II, and a loan at FC Vaduz, Stanko totaled 141 appearances where he scored three goals and added 10 assists. He recently returned from a knee injury which kept him out the beginning of the 2018-19 Bundesliga campaign.

He has served various U.S. Youth National Teams in the past, with his lone senior cap coming in Sept. 2016 against Trinidad & Tobago.

FC Cincinnati kicks off their inaugural MLS campaign on March 3rd against the Seattle Sounders.


  1. Complicated whether it’s strictly accurate to say he spent all those years in Germany. He was Freiburg’s asset but he spent 2 years on loan in Switzerland (Vaduz).

    • It was only one season July 2016 to June 2017. Vaduz qualifies for the Europa League almost every year because the other few teams in Liechtenstein are so poor (outscored opponents in the Liechtenstein Cup that year 34-1). They never make the group stages though. I believe they got relegated the season that Caleb was there as well. Very beautiful stadium, Rheinpark with the Alps on one side and the Rhine River on the other.

  2. This is an excellent move for Caleb and US soccer. Instead of players rotting on the bench of bottom level teams, come and showcase your talent in MLS (bringing with you a higher level of training / practice experience other players can feed off on) and maybe you’ll get a better offer somewhere else. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and something pushing blindly at something (and get nowhere) will not lead to success. Wish he landed with a team with more exposure tho….like NYCFC, Galaxy, Atlanta or LAFC. Either way its a good move for Caleb and US soccer

    • I agree as a general principle that for the non world class star MLS can be just as good or better, particularly if you are not a forward or 10 where the DPs usually get spent. I will say that he spent so long over there that his window for success is much shrinked. He is already 25. He was a pedigree U20 kid who since has only gotten 1 senior cap. Maybe it’s a reboot but it’s also now a high stakes dice roll on is he going to matter much domestically. You look at players like Hyndman or Zelalem or the like and they are a couple more years flailing about from the same state of play. Personally I think they should go young to get their training/ development there, but if the first team isn’t biting be back here by 22 or so, where they still have a whole career ahead of them. By Stanko’s age he has basically one world cup window left and a few peak years.

      • Injuries have plagued this guy throughout, he was actually dressing in the Bundesliga and coming off the bench some at age 24 then misses a whole season with a knee injury. His story is very similar to Gatt and Gyau who both got injured just as they were breaking through. Neither has been able to recapture their previous form, but Stanko not being an attacking player it should be easier.

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