CINCINNATI, Ohio — Upon dismissing Alan Koch yesterday, FC Cincinnati begin their search for a high-profile head coach. In the interim, they will put trust in assistant coach Yoann Damet and the current squad until they find one.
“We don’t have a list. We did not anticipate today,” said club president and general manager Jeff Berding. “We’re starting from scratch. We’re going to get it right. That, by far, is much more important than timing. ... We’re going to make sure we have a head coach coming in who is a big-time proven leader, not only with results, but also with culture.”
The 29-year-old Damet was already the youngest assistant coach in MLS before taking on the interim head coach role on Tuesday. Koch recruited him in 2017 to be his right-hand man, and Damet has led day-to-day training activities at the club for the last two seasons.
“The focus is to build a positive culture,” Berding explained. “We feel that Yoann Damet brings a positive energy. He brings respect. He is someone that is trusted among the staff and among the players and is someone who we believe collectively will get the best out of the players.”
Prior to Cincinnati, Damet spent three years coaching in the Montreal Impact’s academy system. A native of Marseille, France, Damet chose to take a coaching path at an early age rather than pursue a playing career. He has worked his way up the ladder from youth soccer to now getting a chance at the highest level of the American game.
FC Cincinnati plan to conduct an “international search” for a long-term successor starting immediately. Berding stated that prior MLS coaching experience is a positive, though not necessarily a requirement for the candidates. Several big names have been linked to the job already, including David Moyes, Bruce Arena and Jason Kreis, but it’s difficult to tell whether those connections are real or just speculation at this point.
“Our group here internally will lead the search,” said Berding. “As president, that will ultimately fall to me. But we have a great ownership group led by Carl Lindner and others. I will lead it, but there are a lot of other people that will be part of that effort.”
The club's new coach will inherit a roster that appears to lack balance. However, Berding believes the current squad is good enough if the right leader is in place.
“We do believe in the roster," he said. "We developed the roster here through a process. We developed key performance indicators based on how the head coach wanted to play and what he believed were the key requirements for players to be successful in each position.”
“We don’t think the foundation has been there,” Berding continued. “We have not set them up for success, we have not maximized their ability. But we believe we can get those things right, and we believe we can get back to getting results for this club and for our city.”