FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding says MLS experience will play a key role in the club’s search for a new general manager.
The Ohio side mutually parted ways with previous GM Gerard Nijkamp on Friday, with the need to ‘improve play on the pitch’ and break into the playoffs cited as reasons behind the decision.
Nijkamp had no MLS experience prior to his appointment in 2019 ahead of FC Cincinnati’s expansion year, having previously served in assistant coach, academy director and techincal director roles with PEC Zwolle in his native Netherlands.
Cincinnati have finished bottom of the overall standings in each of their two full MLS campaigns so far, and in a bid to put that right and compete for play-off qualification, Berding says a track record within the league will influence the club’s decision-making process as they search for Nijkamp’s successor.
“We understand the value of experience,” Berding told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We understand that there’s data available to evaluate people. Cost per win, transfer record, tenure and how tenure corresponds to winning, size of payroll, size of staff, experience in the staff – all things we didn’t have when we made the turn as a record-setting USL team into a quick transition to MLS team.”
Despite Cincy’s failings in MLS so far, the club remain on an upward trajectory. Jaap Stam’s men have been strengthened by the off-season arrivals of Luciano Acosta and Brazilian forward Brenner, the latter costing $13m – one of the highest fees paid in MLS history.
Cincy also moved into their brand new soccer-specific TQL Stadium in May, while the 16 points they’ve earned so far this season equals their total from last season across 23 games and is just eight short of their 2019 total.
It’s little surprise, then, that Berding believes there will be no shortage of suitors for the vacant general manager position, though finding the ‘right person’ remains a priority.
“I assure you, we will not have a hard time having interest from people that would love to lead FC Cincinnati,” he added. “We will find the right person and we will do it as quickly as possible.”
Cincy drew 1-1 with Orlando City on Saturday, with a home clash with CF Montreal up next on Wednesday evening. The Orange and Blue remain eight points adrift of Ohio rivals Columbus Crew in the final play-off spot.