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FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati primary logo 2018.svg
Full nameFootball Club Cincinnati[1][2]
Nickname(s)Orange and Blue
FoundedMay 29, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-05-29)[nb 1]
StadiumWest End Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
OwnerCarl Lindner III
General managerGerard Nijkamp
Head coachJaap Stam
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2020Eastern Conference: 14th
Overall: 26th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Football Club Cincinnati, commonly known as FC Cincinnati, is an American professional soccer club based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The club 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.[4][5] 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.


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.[6][7] 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.[8] FC Cincinnati formally submitted its expansion bid in January 2017, including a shortlist of potential stadium locations.[9]

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.[10][4] The West End Stadium, a 26,000-seat soccer-specific venue in the West End, is scheduled to open in 2021.[4][11]

FC Cincinnati signed their first two MLS players, Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe, in July 2018. Adi was the team's first designated player.[12] Both players were loaned to the FC Cincinnati USL team for the remainder of the 2018 season.[13]

FC Cincinnati selected five players from certain MLS teams in the expansion draft, which took place on December 11, 2018.[14] 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.[15]

On May 7, 2019, the club fired head coach Alan Koch after a 2–7–2 start to the 2019 MLS season.[16] 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.[17]

On August 8, 2019, Ron Jans was officially hired and made head coach of FC Cincinnati.[18] However, Jans resigned on February 17, 2020, amidst an investigation into his alleged use of a racial slur.[19]


FC Cincinnati played at Nippert Stadium for its first two seasons in MLS while its permanent home, the soccer-specific West End Stadium, was being built.[4] The new stadium is expected to open in 2021.[20]

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. Cincinnati is one of the final twenty three host city candidates for the 2026 World Cup.[21]

Colors and badge

FC Cincinnati's primary colors are orange and blue. The secondary colors are gray, dark blue, and white.[22][23] The home jersey is blue, orange, and white. The away jersey is white and black.[24][25]

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.[26]


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2019 Adidas[27] Mercy Health[4]
2020–present First Financial Bank[4]

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.[28] As part of an extended sponsorship, First Financial Bank was announced as FC Cincinnati's sleeve sponsor, along with Cintas.[29]

Club culture

The club recognizes the following supporters' groups: Die Innenstadt, the Pride, the Briogaid, Hangar 937, the Bridge, Queen City Firm and Auxilia One.[30]


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

Cincinnati has an in-state rival in Columbus Crew.[31] 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.[32][33] The clubs faced each other in their first league matches in 2019: on August 10 in Columbus and August 25 in Cincinnati (the latter match took place during MLS Rivalry Week).[34]

FCC also retains a heated rivalry from its USL days with current lower division club Louisville. The two teams most recently played each other in the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, 2019.[35]


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
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.[36] The CEO and majority owner of the team is Carl Lindner III, CEO of American Financial Group, with Scott Farmer also a leading owner.[37][38]

In November 2019, Meg Whitman purchased a minority stake in the club.[39] 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.[40]


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.[41]

Players and staff


As of March 5, 2021[42][43]
No. Pos. Player Nation
1 GK Cody Cropper  United States
3 DF Tom Pettersson  Sweden
4 DF Maikel van der Werff  Netherlands
6 MF Haris Medunjanin  Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 FW Yuya Kubo (DP)  Japan
8 MF Allan Cruz  Costa Rica
9 FW  Brenner (DP)  Brazil
10 FW Jürgen Locadia (DP; on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)  Netherlands
12 DF Saad Abdul-Salaam  United States
13 MF Joe Gyau  United States
14 DF Nick Hagglund  United States
15 MF Kamohelo Mokotjo  South Africa
16 DF Zico Bailey (HG)  United States
17 MF Ben Mines (HG)  United States
18 DF Rónald Matarrita  Costa Rica
19 FW Brandon Vazquez  United States
20 FW Calvin Harris (GA)  England
21 FW Franko Kovačević (on loan from TSG Hoffenheim)  Croatia
22 GK Przemysław Tytoń  Poland
24 MF Frankie Amaya (GA)  United States
30 GK Beckham Sunderland (HG)  United States
31 FW Álvaro Barreal  Argentina
33 MF Caleb Stanko  United States
39 GK Ben Lundt  Germany

Technical staff 

Title Name
President Jeff Berding
General manager Gerard Nijkamp
Head coach Jaap Stam
Assistant coach Said Bakkati
Assistant coach Yoann Damet
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 coaches

Name Nation Tenure
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 – February 17, 2020
Yoann Damet (interim)  France February 17, 2020 – May 21, 2020
Jaap Stam  Netherlands May 21, 2020 – present

Club captains

Years Name Nation
2019–2020[44] Kendall Waston Costa Rica



This is a partial list of the last five MLS seasons completed by FC Cincinnati. For the full season-by-season history, see List of FC Cincinnati seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average 
Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2019 1 MLS 34 6 22 6 31 75 –44 24 0.71 12th 24th DNQ R5 DNQ 27,336 Costa Rica Allan Cruz 7
2020 MLS 23 4 15 4 12 36 –24 16 0.70 14th 26th NH MLS is Back Tournament Ro16 0 Japan Yuya Kubo 3

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.

Player records


As of November 9, 2020[45]
Rank Name Period MLS Playoffs USOC Total
1 France Mathieu Deplagne 2019–2020 48 0 2 50
2 Costa Rica Kendall Waston 2019–2020 42 0 0 42
United States Frankie Amaya 2019–present 40 0 2 42
4 United States Caleb Stanko 2019–present 36 0 2 38
5 Costa Rica Allan Cruz 2019–present 36 0 0 36
6 United States Nick Hagglund 2019–present 33 0 2 35
7 The Gambia Kekuta Manneh 2019–2020 29 0 2 31
8 United States Joe Gyau 2020–present 29 0 0 29
United States Spencer Richey 2019–2020 29 0 0 29
Poland Przemysław Tytoń 2019–present 27 0 2 29


As of November 9, 2020[45]
Rank Name Period MLS Playoffs USOC Total
1 Costa Rica Allan Cruz 2019–present 8 0 0 8
2 Argentina Emmanuel Ledesma 2019 6 0 0 6
3 The Gambia Kekuta Manneh 2019–2020 4 0 1 5
4 Japan Yuya Kubo 2020–present 3 0 0 3
Jamaica Darren Mattocks 2019 3 0 0 3
5 United States Brandon Vazquez 2020–present 2 0 0 2
Nigeria Fanendo Adi 2019 1 0 1 2


As of November 9, 2020[45]
Rank Name Period MLS Playoffs USOC Total
1 Poland Przemysław Tytoń 2019–present 8 0 0 8
2 United States Spencer Richey 2019–2020 5 0 0 5

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.

Affiliated clubs

On September 25, 2020, FC Cincinnati signed a partnership agreement with Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.[46]


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


  1. ^ "MLS Brand". MLS Digital. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  2. ^ Weingartner, Tana. "Football Club Cincinnati: Check Out FC Cincinnati's New Branding". Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "West End Stadium". MLS Digital. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Cincinnati awarded MLS expansion club, will start play in 2019". MLS Digital. May 29, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
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  6. ^ Couch, Ben (December 15, 2016). "MLS announces expansion process and timeline". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "FC Cincinnati 'in talks' with Major League Soccer, but no solid plan in the works". WCPO. April 23, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Hatch, Charlie (December 4, 2016). "MLS Commissioner Don Garber impressed by Cincinnati after midweek tour". MLS Digital. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  9. ^ Brennan, Patrick (January 31, 2017). "FC Cincinnati submits expansion bid to MLS". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Watkins, Steve (March 22, 2018). "Here's when FC Cincinnati plans to begin play in new stadium". Cincinnati Business Journal. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "FC Cincinnati signs Fanendo Adi, Fatai Alashe ahead of MLS move". ESPN. July 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "Cincinnati Bolsters Squad with Adi, Alashe". July 31, 2018.
  14. ^ "FC Cincinnati can select 5 major league players for inaugural roster". November 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Bogart, Tom (December 11, 2018). "2018 Expansion Draft Results: FC Cincinnati pick, trade big names".
  16. ^ "Club Dismisses Head Coach Alan Koch". FC Cincinnati. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  17. ^ Brennan, Patrick (May 7, 2019). "FC Cincinnati dismises Alan Koch as head coach". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  18. ^ "Ron Jans named Head Coach". FC Cincinnati. August 4, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  19. ^ Brennan, Pat. "FC Cincinnati: Ron Jans resigns as head coach". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  20. ^ Knight, Cameron (October 19, 2018). "FC Cincinnati stadium will break ground Dec. 19, open March 2021". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "West End Stadium".
  22. ^ Lind, Jason (November 12, 2018). "FC Cincinnati reveal new MLS crest and colors for expansion season". MLS Digital. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  23. ^ "FCC Unveils its Major League Soccer Logo, Marks & Colors". (Press release). MLS Digital. November 12, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  24. ^ "Inaugural 2019 MLS Kit Unveiled". (Press release). MLS Digital. February 11, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  25. ^ Watkins, Steve (February 11, 2019). "FC Cincinnati unveils jerseys for MLS".
  26. ^ Bava, John (November 12, 2018). "FC Cincinnati Unveils Updated Crest Ahead of Inaugural MLS Season".
  27. ^ "Major League Soccer and adidas extend landmark partnership through 2024". MLS Digital. August 2, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  28. ^ Watkins, Steve (January 16, 2019). "FC Cincinnati".
  29. ^ Brennan, Pat (July 10, 2020). "FC Cincinnati new sleeve sponsors".
  30. ^ "Supporters' Groups". MLS Digital. March 26, 2019.
  31. ^ Reed, Tom (June 14, 2017). "It's feeling real in Cincinnati". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Hatch, Charlie (June 14, 2017). "'HELL IS REAL,' and so is FC Cincinnati's threat to Columbus". FourFourTwo. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  34. ^ "FCC's Inaugural MLS Schedule Released". MLS Digital. January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  35. ^ "Lou City rivalry is still "huge"". MLS Digital. June 11, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  36. ^ 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.
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  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ Soshnick, Scott (November 27, 2019). "Meg Whitman's Stake Values Cincinnati Soccer Team at $500 Million". Bloomberg News.
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  46. ^ "FC Cincinnati announce partnership with Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim". MLS Soccer. September 25, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 March 2021, at 22:17
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