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FC Cincinnati scores Jaap Stam to lead club after former head coach's sudden departure

Posted at 11:36 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 13:25:07-04

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati's Major League Soccer club has picked former Feyenoord manager and ex-Manchester United defender Jaap Stam as its new head coach.

WCPO on Thursday confirmed Stam's selection through a source within the club, which later issued an announcement making the new hire official.

“We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati’s new head coach,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said in the announcement. “He has an extensive background in being part of some of the most successful clubs in the world as a player and has also proven that he can guide teams through transitionary periods as a head coach.

“I strongly believe that Jaap can lead us through our next phase, to our new stadium, and help us achieve our goals in the future, making players better and bringing his knowledge and experience inside the club.”

This will not be Nijkamp and Stam's first time working together. The pair previously collaborated with the Dutch club PEC Zwolle. Earlier this month, Stam still remained in the Netherlands, where Nijkamp also was quarantining with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stam will begin overseeing FC Cincinnati practices as soon as he arrives in the United States, acccording to the team. The exact date will depend on when he receives his U.S. P-1 visa — a type of temporary work visa specifically issued to people involved in athletics and entertainment.

The future of the league is even more uncertain. Major League Soccer postponed its 2020 season in mid-March to protect athletes and spectators from the pandemic. Officials have said they intend to play a full season, without fans if necessary, but players remain so wary of each new proposal that some admit to having stopped paying attention.

"I don’t even listen anymore," FC Cincinnati forward Kekuta Manneh said May 14. "I just do what I can control, which is to stay in shape.”

Stam will fill the position suddenly vacated by former head coach Ron Jans, who resigned Feb. 17 amid an investigation into potential misconduct. The MLS Players Association had accused Jans of using a racial slur in front of players during a preseason trip in Arizona.