FC Cincinnati's Nick Hagglund gets philosophical about "crazy year"

Nick Hagglund - FC Cincinnati - tight shot

An unexpected preseason coaching change, a halt in the season after two weeks and a worldwide pandemic is enough to throw any player for a loop.

But FC Cincinnati defender Nick Hagglund is rolling with the punches, opting to chuckle about the craziness of his time with his hometown team rather than let it overwhelm him.

“We're just like looking forward, what can we do right now because the times are so different from now than two months ago, it almost feels like we can’t even relate to one another,” Hagglund said in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. “I feel like for us, it’s just what can we do right now because the future is unknown. All we can do is work in the present, and I think that's the most important thing for us right now.”

Hagglund said it's hard for him to reflect on the start of the season, which included consecutive road losses to the New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United because of the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously our first two games were tough, but I felt there were some positives that we were able to talk about, the team was able to figure some things out,” he said. “It was so short that it’s hard to reflect on. It’s hard to look back on. It's three weeks, almost a month, but it I feel like its been a reset now and this has been the norm a little bit.”

Even before FC Cincinnati’s second MLS season began, there was turmoil with head coach Ron Jans resigning from his his position in the wake of an investigation surrounding a complaint made by the MLS Players Association accusing Jans of making "extremely inappropriate comments.”

Yoann Damet took over on an interim basis for the second time — his first stint came when Alan Koch was relieved of his duties last year.

A poor first half against the Red Bulls in a season-opening 3-2 loss at Red Bull Arena was followed by a 2-1 defeat at Atlanta United. The home opener at Nippert Stadium in Week 3 was reason for some optimism when the season was put on hold.

"It wasn’t a crazy preseason, it was a crazy year in general with what happened with the coaching situation at the beginning of the year, now we have coronavirus," he said. 

It’s been a rocky road, but Hagglund was philosophical about the team’s wild ride in 2020.

“That’s the journey. The journey of life in soccer, even individually, things are up and down all the time. I don’t think life just gives you a golden path to go on,” Hagglund said. “This is just part of the journey of this club. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how everyone comes [out] on the opposite side of this. Hopefully it’s positive. That’s the goal.”