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FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

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The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.

FC Cincinnati coach steps away during investigation of racial slur

Ron Jans
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FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans has stepped away from the club while Major League Soccer investigates “extremely inappropriate comments” made by the 61-year-old Dutchman.

The Athletic reported Friday that Jans had used a racial slur earlier this preseason.

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According to Cincinnati.com, Jans told club president Jeff Berding the incident happened when “he said the word when singing along with music played in the locker room” and that a player confronted him to tell him that’s inappropriate in this country.

The same report mentions an awkward and “inappropriate” reference to slavery from Jans before an October match. That time, it was explained that “Jans spent time at the nation’s memorials and was meant to inspire the team to overcome adversity.”

FC Cincinnati issued the following statement on the incident and investigation, saying the club will conduct “training” for every member of the organization:

“FC Cincinnati was founded and operates with three core values: (1) being inclusive and family-friendly, (2) having a strong and visible presence in the community, and (3) winning on the field.

“When club leadership was made aware of the allegation, we were very surprised as building a caring and committed culture has been a focus of Ron’s leadership.

“We want to fully understand the nature of the incident and allow for an environment for our players to speak freely to any locker room issues. Therefore, while both the Club and Major League Soccer work together, Ron will step away from the team during the investigation.

“While the investigation is undertaken, the Club is also committed to ensuring every member of the club has a deeper appreciation and awareness for differences in cultures and backgrounds, and will institute training for every member of the organization.

“The Club will not have further comment on this matter until the conclusion of the joint investigation with MLS.”

Hired in August, Jans is 1-5-4 as FCC boss. He’s spent most of his playing and managing career in the Netherlands, leading Heerenveen to the Europa League and PEC Zwolle to the KNVB Cup.

2019 interim coach Yoann Damet and former PEC Zwolle man Ivar van Dinteren will lead the club during the investigation.

 

MLS Wrap: What we learned

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Here’s what we learned from MLS’ jam-packed action on Saturday.

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NYCFC rally to edge San Jose, remain first in Eastern Conference 

Dominating possession and taking a healthy amount of shots, it seemed like the San Jose Earthquakes were going to pull off a Matias Almeyda-era victory in New York City on Saturday.

But in just the span of three minutes, NYCFC changed the landscape of the game completely, scoring twice right before halftime. Keaton Parks recorded his first league goal in the 40th minute. In the 43rd, the Eastern Conference leaders put together this (yes, the covered half the field just like that):

Like in the sequences that led to the home side’s goals, the Quakes’ confidence to overtake the scoreline took a hit, failing to finish a number of chances following attack-heavy substitutions in the second half. As a result, San Jose, who are fighting for a playoff spot, dropped their fourth straight game on the road.

Speaking with media after their 2-1 loss, Almeyda – despite praising NYCFC as being one of the league’s best – took shots at Yankee Stadium’s field size. Should the league care? Absolutely. NYCFC? Not at all, just look at their record.


FC Cincinnati win first game under Ron Jans

FC Cincy supporters can finally rejoice, even their 1-0 win in Montreal wasn’t ideal.

The league’s youngest team ended up with 10-men late in the game. Kendall Watson was shown a straight red card, but Ron Jans earned his first three points at the helm. Early in the game, Allan Cruz’s goal foreshadowed what was to come for the Ohioan side following the final whistle: a celebration.

 

The Impact (37 points) remain three points behind New England, while Cincinnati (21 points) look to finish strong in order to avoid the ugly side of the history books. 

Carlos Vela rejoins LAFC, scores

There’s no way around it: LAFC is a completely different team with (or without) Carlos Vela, who can’t stop scoring.

The Mexican recorded his 28th goal of the season (six behind Jose Martinez’s single-season record) in the Supporter Shield favorite’s 1-1 draw in Philadelphia. It wasn’t a Vela-esque sequence at all, but it was enough to change the score.

The Union, who played without Marco Fabian because of his absence in the team’s meeting on Friday, opened the scoring. Three minutes in, Kacper Przybyłko’s floating header surprised Tyler Miller, giving the home side a perfect start in front of a noisy Talen Energy Stadium.

Just a couple of months ago, these were the two best teams in the league. LAFC remain atop of the Western Conference. The Union, however, are now five points behind NYCFC.


Crew trounce Atlanta United 3-1 despite Josef Martinez’ goal

Caleb Porter’s Columbus Crew, arguably, play the most effective soccer out of all the teams that are on the outside looking in when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs this season.

On Saturday, despite being statistically outdone by Atlanta United, the Crew managed to execute their chances, scoring three goals on only four shots on target. Gyasi Zardes, a pivotal piece of their attack, scored his 12th goal of the season. Costa Rican Luis Diaz added one of his own in the second half, before Miles Robinson’s own-goal 25 minutes later sealed three points for Columbus.

No goal, however, had as much significance as Josef Martinez’s.

The Venezuelan scored for a 14th consecutive game, making it the third longest streak in the history of the sport. The 26-year-old is now seven games away from Lionel Messi’s world record set in 2014.

Third in the Eastern Conference, nine points away from NYCFC with six games to go, don’t count the single-season scoring king to hold back from wanting to break the record.

Elsewhere in MLS

Chicago Fire 4-0 FC Dallas 

Orlando City 3-3 New England Revolution

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Houston Dynamo

Ron Jans named new FC Cincinnati head coach

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There’s a new boss in Cincinnati.

On Sunday, the club announced that Rons Jans has been appointed as head coach, becoming their third in their MLS history. The 60-year-old Dutchman joins from FC Groningen, where he most recently assumed the Technical Director role. Jans takes over for interim coach Yoann Damet, who replaced Alan Koch in May, and has signed a contract that runs through the 2020 season.

“I’m very appreciative of Gerard, Jeff Berding and the club’s ownership group for their confidence in bringing me to FC Cincinnati,” Jans said. “This club has drawn a lot of attention in Europe and football fans are very interested in the progress of the club, which is why this opportunity is so exciting. My challenge is realizing our immense potential and I am really looking forward of being part of that development and making the fans even prouder to support FC Cincinnati.”

Jans’ arrival sees him reuniting with GM Gerard Nijkamp, who he worked under at Dutch club PEC Zwolle.

“We are excited to get Ron involved with the team as soon as possible and leading us the rest of the season,” Nijkamp said. “He has a pedigree of success and guiding strong clubs, especially through difficult transitions to championships.

“With his experience and expertise in all aspects of being a head coach, I have full confidence that he will be successful at FC Cincinnati,” he added. “I believe Ron will be a critical part to establishing the foundation for our playing philosophy as well as our performance on the pitch.”

A Dutch Cup and Dutch Super Cup winner, Jans is set to make his MLS coaching debut on Saturday in Columbus. The Dutchman will feature a coaching staff composed of Damet, Jack Stern and Ivar van Dinteren, who replaces Pa Modou Kah.

FC Cincinnati adds to the list of teams Jans has coached in his lengthy, 20-year-plus coaching career, which include FC Groningen, SC Heerenveen, Standard Liege and PEC Zwolle.

During the height of his playing days, Jans was a staple striker in the Eredivisie, tallying goals for PEC Zwolle, FC Groningen and Roda JC over a 11-year period.

Report: FC Cincinnati hires Ron Jans as head coach

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According to a report by The Athletic, FC Cincinnati will hire Dutch manager Ron Jans as its next head coach.

Jans, a 60-year-old Zwolle-born former striker, last managed for PEC Zwolle, the same club he spent the majority of his playing career with. He was in charge at Zwolle for four years, winning the KNVB-Bekker in his first season before seeing his tenure coming to a close in 2017 to become the director of football at FC Groningen, a position he left at the end of this past season.

Jans will work for fellow Dutchman Gerard Nijkamp who was hired as club General Manager back in May. Nijkamp said after he was brought on board that the managerial job was a “caretaker” position until the new stadium opens in 2021, although he clarified that statement later to allow for the current manager’s reassessment before that time.

The Dutchman will take over for Alan Koch who was fired after 11 matches this season, with the club citing a “declining club culture” rather than poor results on the pitch. Cincinnati had won just two of its first 11 games of league play. Yoann Damet, who has served as interim manager since Koch’s firing and has won three of hist first 10 matches, will stay on as an assistant, according to the report.

The report said terms of the hire were unknown and did not give a timeline for Jans’ introduction, only saying that he is waiting on the approval of a work permit.