Despite FC Cincinnati Woes, New GM Nijkamp Could Turn Things Around

Gerard Nijkamp

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

FC Cincinnati were one of the stories of the league through the first month of the season, as early results matched the tremendous support in the Queen City. A surprising away draw against defending champions Atlanta United and convincing wins over the Portland Timbers and New England Revolution had the Orange and Blue flying high, and they would have secured the best start of an expansion team in MLS history if not for a loss to the Philadelphia Union in the subsequent match.

Then April came and ever since the team has amassed nine losses in eleven outings. The latest disappointing result came last night in a 5-2 loss to NYC FC, their fourth consecutive defeat to leave them with the lowest points tally in the league at 11. The league’s newest franchise has been searching for answers to turn things around roughly halfway into the season, and they may have just struck gold in the form of a new general manager with an impressive pedigree.

On May 30 the club announced the hiring of Gerard Nijkamp to transform soccer operations from top to bottom. The Dutchman arrives from PEC Zwolle in his home country, where he has served as their technical director since 2012. He will take the next two months to make the transition before joining Cincy in full capacity on August 1.



“We believe Gerard is a fantastic fit for FC Cincinnati, both with his on-field football expertise, but also his off-field demeanor and managerial style,” FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding said in a club statement. “We have great ambitions for FC Cincinnati and Gerard is stepping into a very large role. We will give him all of the support he needs to make us a successful, winning and community-focused club – from the first team all the way down to our newly established Academy.

Nijkamp began his time at PEC Zwolle as the academy director and later served on the Netherland’s Under-21 staff. He left his home nation for four years and worked as academy director for Qatari outfits Al Ahli (2007-2009) and Al-Rayya (2009-2011, before returning to Zwolle to step in as technical director where he would leave his mark in a major way.

They may not be one of the larger clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie, but Nijkamp helped PEC Zwolle achieve several impressive feats during his tenure. They demolished perennial power AFC Ajax 5-1 to win the Dutch Cup in 2014, their first ever triumph in the competition, and earned a birth in the Europa League as a result. He also helped guide Zwolle to a sixth-place finish in the league, the best result in team history.

His upcoming responsibilities for the Orange and Blue are quite extensive. He has been given full control over roster management and budget, player acquisitions, first-team coaching, sports performance and medical staff member, and the club’s new youth academy. The 49-year-old is eager to make his presence felt in southwestern Ohio.

“I am very happy and proud to be part of the FC Cincinnati family,” Nijkamp said following the club’s announcement. “I would like to thank Carl H. Lindner III and Jeff Berding for their confidence in me and the vision I plan to bring to FCC. I will put all of my knowledge, experience and skills into building a successful club for this wonderful city.”

The first area in which Nijkamp will look to make an immediate impact is in the search for a new head coach. His experience in the coaching ranks and connections will play a key role in what Berding labeled a “worldwide” search for a new tactician, as the club is ready to turn over every stone to find the best man for the job. Yoann Damet has served as the interim manager following Alan Koch’s dismissal on May 7.

Second, Nijkamp will be looking to make a significant impact in identifying and developing young talent, as well as finding established players to build the strongest roster possible. For decades AFC Ajax has been one of the beacons in Europe for their development of young players, but PEC Zwolle garnered their own reputation for finding and grooming budding stars to fit the club’s playing philosophy under Nijkamp’s direction. This aspect was crucial to punching above their weight with a limited budget.

Berding cited a deteriorating culture as one of the reasons for Koch’s dismissal. Nijkamp will have a large say in building the type of culture that the club’s president desires, while seeking to implement an aggressive, possession-based playing style that can help the team compete with the league’s best. Building from the bottom up is the only way for the new GM, something he spoke to in his introductory press conference.

“People, supporters, the business side but also the media can identify with the club with the philosophy and how we want to play on the field,” Nijkamp said concerning what is important in how the organization is run. "How we want to be as human beings who work for this beautiful club."

While the results of late have been less than satisfactory, FC Cincinnati’s new head of soccer operations may just be what helps flip the script now and into the future.

Roma Defender Chris Smalling Has Been Stellar In Italy

Chris Smalling, AS Roma

As if he’d not made enough of an impression since joining AS Roma on loan from Manchester United in the summer, defender Chris Smalling really stood out as an exceptional talent on the week of his 30th birthday. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Hofstra Coach Simon Riddiough Doesn't Need The Power 5 To Define Success

Hofstra

By Jerry Beach

Simon Riddiough, the head coach of the Hofstra women’s soccer team, spent about two minutes of a 21-minute interview Tuesday afternoon discussing why he’s content at the Long Island school and not planning to see if he can replicate his success with a higher-profile Power Five school that would offer the resources and opportunities to make a deep NCAA Tournament run that are generally lacking in the mid-major arena.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Carlo Ancelotti, Aurelio De Laurentiis & Napoli Are In Complete Chaos

Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli

It’s hard to believe that only as far back as April 22, 2018, Napoli beat Juventus 1-0 in Turin to move top of the table with only four games remaining. Maurizio Sarri — himself now in charge at Juve — had broken the club record points total in each of the previous two campaigns, and would do so again in 2017-18, but the Naples men ultimately finished second, albeit with yet another unseen total of 91 points.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Canada Has An Opportunity To Prove Their Standing On Friday Against USMNT

Canada

This is the moment of truth for Canada's men's national team. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Concacaf Nations League Returns For Final Group State In November

Gerardo Martino, Mexico

After nearly a month of waiting for the Concacaf Nations League to kick back into gear, the tournament is finally back this week with the final two matchdays in group play. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Seattle Sounders & Toronto FC Clash With The MLS Cup On The Line

Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC

Just over a week after the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC went on the road and upset the favorites, MLS Cup 2019 is on the horizon as the 24th season in league history comes to a close. CenturyLink Field in Seattle will be the epicenter on Sunday at 3 PM when the two sides face off in the MLS Cup final for the third time in the past four years. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Paulo Fonseca & The Unlikely Resurgence Of AS Roma In Serie A

AS Roma

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Potential USMNT Contributors From The Nations League Pre-Camp

Sebastian Lletget, USMNT

November 15 could be a day of reckoning for Gregg Berhalter and the United States men's national team. After last month's 2-0 defeat to Canada — the first loss to their neighbors in 35 years — Berhalter needs a win in Orlando to help rectify the USA's position in the first-ever Concacaf Nations League. Anything other than a win would mean that Canada will advance to the semifinals, a shocking result for the U.S.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

10 Things In Italy: Mario Balotelli, de Ligt Handballs & Conte's Inter

Mario Balotelli, Brescia

With the action in Italy heating up both on and off the field, it’s time to get you caught up with what’s been happening in the world of Serie A and, as always, “10 Things” is here to bring you right up to date.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Concaclusions, Ep. 9: Pulisic Strikes Again, Jiménez Haunts Arsenal

Raul Jiménez, Mexico, Wolves

Another round of club play is in the books, and several of the region’s top players were in the headlines once again through clutch goals, quality performances, and even uncharacteristic errors. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In