FC Cincinnati had a remarkable first season. Now, as the team prepares for its second season beginning in April the team is in the news after dropping its popular and nationally well-known head coach John Harkes.
Harkes, the former U.S. men’s national team captain, led FC Cincinnati to a 16-6-8 finish in its inaugural campaign last year, which was good for third in the United Soccer League's Eastern Conference. General Manager Jeff Berding relieved Harkes of his duties on Friday and replaced him with Alan Koch.
Berding talked about replacing Harkes, FC Cincinnati's remarkable success and more with Andy Furman in the Andy Furman Podcast on Thursday.
"My job is to help our club that has significant ambitions both toward (joining Major League Soccer) and wining a USL championship," Berding said. "I was convinced that in order for us to win a championship this was the step that needed to be taken... I was confident we didn't have enough. We needed to do more."
Berding said Koch came highly recommended and has a track record of developing young players.
"Last year was last year, and it wasn't good enough," Berding said. "At the end of the day, we have high expectations, and I was convinced the change was needed."
Berding also talked about adding seats, improvements to Nippert Stadium and more.
Berding said the larger field with the expansions at Nippert Stadium will help the team play against bigger, more physical teams. The team also has more depth.
"Last Friday, I made a change on the head coach, and I think we will be better coached and better prepared to beat those teams," Berding said.
Berding said to get to the Major League Soccer level, FC Cincinnati simply needs to build on its success. He also said FC Cincinnati will bring MLS Commissioner Don Garber in to see a game at Nippert Stadium to see what the atmosphere is like.
Listen to this episode of The Andy Furman Podcast in the player above.