FC Cincinnati name Jaap Stam new head coach

Jaap Stam - coaching at Reading

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has been named the new FC Cincinnati manager, the club announced Thursday.

The 47-year-old ex-Netherlands international takes over for fellow Dutch native Ron Jans, who stepped down in the preseason after just six months on the job in the wake of an investigation surrounding a complaint made by the MLS Players Association accusing Jans of making "extremely inappropriate comments.”

“We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati’s new head coach,” FC Cincinnati GM Gerard Nijkamp said in a statement. “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. I have full confidence that he will be successful at FC Cincinnati and will be a great fit to carry out our established playing philosophy and guide the club to achieve future successes,” Nijkamp said.

For the second time in two years, Yoann Damet took over on an interim basis and guided the club through its first two matches of the 2020 season.

Stam, who also played for PSV Eindhoven, Lazio, Milan and Ajax in a storied playing career, arrives in Cincinnati after a short coaching stint at Feyenood that ended with his resignation on Oct. 28, 2019.

“For myself, to get the opportunity to work in America and to work in MLS for a club like FC Cincinnati, it’s a dream,” Stam said. “I’ve always liked the country and I’ve always liked the mentality of the people in the States as well in what they’re trying to achieve.

“To get the opportunity to work for FC Cincinnati and this project by building the club – hopefully even further than where they already are, because I think they’ve already done a great job – but being a presence as a team, even more in MLS, getting results and working together with the fans and everybody already working within the club, for me it’s a big challenge to do well.”

He previously coached Reading in the English Championship from June 2016 to March 2018, guiding them to the playoffs in his first season, and PEC Zwolle from Dec. 2018 to May 2019. He also served as a caretaker manager for Zwolle in 2009.

Stam also served as an Ajax assistant coach and managed Jong Ajax, the reserve team in the Eerste Divisie.

Also joining Stam’s coaching staff in Cincinnati is new assistant coach Said Bakkati, who will formally join the staff in Cincinnati upon receipt of his U.S. work visa. Bakkati served on Stam’s staff previously at Jong Ajax, Reading, PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord.

Bakkati was born in Groningen, Nertherlands, and enjoyed a 15-year professional playing career as a fullback that included stops throughout the Netherlands including Heerenveen (2000-06), ADO Den Haag (2006-07), Go Ahead Eagles (2007-09), FC Zwolle (2009-12) and FC Emmen (2012-15).