After months of speculation, FC Cincinnati announced on Thursday that former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam will be the man in charge on the other side of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati’s new head coach,” FCC General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “He has an extensive background in being part of some of the most successful clubs in the world as a player and has also proven that he can guide teams through transitionary periods as a head coach,”
47-year-old Stam represents the second Dutchman hired by Nijkamp in as many seasons, and third-overall intended permanent coach hired by the club since joining MLS in 2019. He succeeds Ron Jans, who parted ways with the club in February amid an MLSPA investigation of his alleged use of a racial slur.
“I strongly believe that Jaap can lead us through our next phase, to our new stadium, and help us achieve our goals in the future, making players better and bringing his knowledge and experience inside the club, Nijkamp said. “I have full confidence that he will be successful at FC Cincinnati and will be a great fit to carry out our established playing philosophy and guide the club to achieve future successes.”
His playing days included eight years of international service for the Dutch National Team, stints at Manchester United, Ajax, and AC Milan among others. On the managerial side, Stam has been at the helm of English Championship side Reading, and Eredivisie clubs PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord.
“For myself, to get the opportunity to work in America and to work in MLS for a club like FC Cincinnati, it’s a dream,” Stam said. “I’ve always liked the country and I’ve always liked the mentality of the people in the States as well in what they’re trying to achieve.”
Prior to the suspension of the 2020 season, FC Cincinnati opened its campaign with road losses to New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United. There is not currently an official plan for the league to resume play, but teams and players are said to be working through a proposal from the league to relocate all 26 teams to Orlando for a tournament in the coming months.