FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati is an American professional soccer club based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that 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.[3][4] 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.

FC Cincinnati
Full nameFootball Club Cincinnati[1]
Nickname(s)Orange and Blue
FoundedMay 29, 2018 (2018-05-29)[nb 1]
StadiumNippert Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
OwnerCarl Lindner III
General managerGerard Nijkamp
Head coachRon Jans
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2019Eastern Conference: 12th
Overall: 24th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website


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.[5][6] 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.[7] FC Cincinnati formally submitted its expansion bid in January 2017, including a shortlist of potential stadium locations.[8]

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.[9][3] The West End Stadium, a 26,000-seat soccer-specific venue in the West End, is scheduled to open in 2021.[3][10]

FC Cincinnati signed their first two MLS players, Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe, in July 2018. Adi was the team's first designated player.[11] Both players were loaned to the FC Cincinnati USL team for the remainder of the 2018 season.[12]

FC Cincinnati selected five players from certain MLS teams in the expansion draft, which took place on December 11, 2018.[13]

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.[14]

On May 7, 2019, the club fired head coach Alan Koch after a 2–7–2 start to the 2019 MLS season.[15] 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.[16]

On August 8, 2019, Ron Jans was officially hired and made Head Coach of FC Cincinnati.[17]


FC Cincinnati will play at Nippert Stadium while their new West End Stadium is being built.[3] The new stadium is expected to open in 2021.[18]

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. The stadium will be an enticing location to play for international club teams during their American tours and friendlies in their offseason. Furthermore, Cincinnati is one of the final twenty three host city candidates for the 2026 World Cup.[19]

Colors and badge

FC Cincinnati's primary colors are orange and blue. The secondary colors are gray, dark blue, and white. The home jersey is blue, orange, and white. The away jersey is white and black.[20]

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.[21]


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Ref.
2019–present Adidas[22] Mercy Health Partners [3]

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.[23]

Club culture

The club recognizes the following supporters' groups: Die Innenstadt, the Pride, Queen City Firm, the Bridge (formerly the Legion), the Briogáid (formerly the Bailey Bastards), Auxilia One (based in New York City), and Hangar 937 (based in Dayton, Ohio).[24]


Cincinnati has an in-state rival in Columbus Crew.[25] 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.[26][27] The clubs will face off in their first-ever league matches in 2019: on August 10 in Columbus and August 25 in Cincinnati (the latter match will take place during MLS Rivalry Week).[28]

FCC also retains a heated rivalry from its USL days with current USL club Louisville City FC. The two teams most recently played each other in the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, 2019.[29]


Former Cincinnati Bengals executive Jeff Berding is the president.[30] The CEO and majority owner of the team is Carl Lindner III, CEO of American Financial Group, with Scott Farmer also a leading owner.[31][32]

In November 2019, Meg Whitman purchased a minority stake in the club.[33] 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.[34]


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.[35]

Players and staff


As of November 20, 2019[36][37]
No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Kendall Waston  Costa Rica
4 Defender Greg Garza  United States
6 Midfielder Leonardo Bertone   Switzerland
9 Forward Fanendo Adi (DP)  Nigeria
11 Forward Darren Mattocks  Jamaica
13 Goalkeeper Jimmy Hague  United States
14 Defender Nick Hagglund  United States
15 Midfielder Allan Cruz  Costa Rica
17 Defender Mathieu Deplagne  France
18 Goalkeeper Spencer Richey  United States
21 Defender Logan Gdula  United States
22 Goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń  Poland
23 Defender Maikel van der Werff  Netherlands
24 Midfielder Frankie Amaya (GA)  United States
26 Midfielder Tommy McCabe  United States
27 Midfielder Fatai Alashe  United States
31 Forward Kekuta Manneh  Gambia
33 Midfielder Caleb Stanko  United States
36 Midfielder Joe Gyau  United States
39 Goalkeeper Ben Lundt  Germany
47 Defender Hassan Ndam  Cameroon
81 Forward Rashawn Dally  Jamaica
96 Defender Andrew Gutman (HG; on loan from Celtic)  United States
Defender Saad Abdul-Salaam  United States
Defender Zico Bailey (HG)  United States
Defender Tom Pettersson  Sweden
Midfielder Haris Medunjanin  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Forward Brandon Vazquez  United States

Technical staff 

Title Name
President Jeff Berding
General manager Gerard Nijkamp
Head coach Ron Jans
Assistant coach Yoann Damet
Assistant coach Ivar van Dinteren
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 Years
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 – present

Club captains

Years Name Nation
2019 Kendall Waston  Costa Rica

Player records

As of October 8, 2019[38], includes both the MLS and US Open Cup competitions

Most appearances

Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Mathieu Deplagne 2019–present 33 0 2 0 35
2 Kekuta Manneh 2019–present 29 0 2 0 31
3 Roland Lamah 2019 28 0 0 0 28
Víctor Ulloa 2019 26 0 2 0 28
Emmanuel Ledesma 2019 26 0 2 0 28
6 Leonardo Bertone 2019–present 25 0 1 0 26
7 Kendall Waston 2019–present 25 0 0 0 25
Caleb Stanko 2019–present 23 0 2 0 25
9 Nick Hagglund 2019–present 22 0 2 0 24
10 Allan Cruz 2019–present 22 0 0 0 22

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.


Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Allan Cruz 2019–present 7 0 0 0 7
2 Emmanuel Ledesma 2019 6 0 0 0 6
3 Kekuta Manneh 2019–present 4 0 1 0 5
4 Darren Mattocks 2019–present 3 0 0 0 3
5 Fanendo Adi 2019–present 1 0 1 0 2
6 Kendall Waston 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
Leonardo Bertone 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
Roland Lamah 2019 1 0 0 0 1
Mathieu Deplagne 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
Fatai Alashe 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
Kenny Saief 2019 1 0 0 0 1
Rashawn Dally 2019–present 1 0 0 0 1
Víctor Ulloa 2019 1 0 0 0 1

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.

Most shutouts

Place Name Period MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Przemysław Tytoń 2019–present 3 0 0 0 3
2 Spencer Richey 2019–present 2 0 0 0 2

Bolded players are currently on the FC Cincinnati roster.



Year MLS Regular Season Position MLS Cup
U.S. Open Cup Champions
League Top Scorer
P W L D GF GA Pts Conf. Overall Player Goals
2019 34 6 22 6 31 75 24 12th 24th Did not qualify Round of 16 Not eligible Allan Cruz 7
2020 Not eligible


  1. MLS franchise awarded in 2018 but did not begin play until 2019. In late 2019 a vote was held by the local Ark Elders and the team was renamed the Rabbit Hash Dog Mayors beginning with the 2020 season to celebrate the great heritage of dogs running the entire state of KY for four decades. FC Cincinnati played in the USL and was founded in 2016.


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  19. "West End Stadium".
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  21. Bava, John (November 12, 2018). "FC Cincinnati Unveils Updated Crest Ahead of Inaugural MLS Season".
  22. "Major League Soccer and adidas extend landmark partnership through 2024". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. August 2, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
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