MILFORD, Ohio — The decision to become the latest head coach of FC Cincinnati wasn't just Ron Jans' to make. It was a family decision, as these things often are. When meeting with FC Cincinnati's front office, Jans told president Jeff Berding, "they had to convince my wife."
So, what did Berding do? He flew from Cincinnati to Amsterdam to meet with the Jans family. In the Dutch manager's own words, "in the beginning I thought they were recruiting my wife to be the coach and not me."
Berding's efforts paid off, and Jans was officially announced as FC Cincinnati's head coach on Sunday. But make no mistake, Ron is sold on the Queen City too. Beyond the connection to FCC general manager Gerard Nijkamp – the two worked together from 2012 to 2017 at Dutch club PEC Zwolle -- Jans did his homework on MLS and Cincinnati.
"I made some phone calls to players from Holland who's played in the MLS. They were very positive about the experience. There's a sports director for one of the league's clubs who also was positive about the potential and people of Cincinnati," Jans said in his introductory press conference on Monday.
After serving as technical director at Eredivisie club FC Groningen for the last two seasons, Jans knew he wanted to get back into coaching, and had suitors in his homeland. It took a four-day trip to the US and a match against the Houston Dynamo for Jans to feel swayed by not just his new club, but MLS overall.
"The club, the potential, the desire, the commitment and people here. In the MLS 10 years ago, you'd see on TV lines for American football on the pitch. That's over now," he explained.
At the Dynamo game, he was blown away by the crowd, despite the lack of results on the field. "They were at bottom of the table, yet there's 26,000 energetic, positive people. That was a reason to come over," he explained.
Jans is now fully bought in to bringing FC Cincinnati up from the basement to the MLS's upper echelon.
"My greatest desire is to be part of the legacy of making FC Cincinnati a respectable club in the MLS," he said. "I have a one-and-a-half year contract, but when you see my coaching history, I often stay longer. That would be nice, because it means we were successful here."
Head coach and GM are united in their commitment to the task at hand. Nijkamp gave the new coach a glowing endorsement.
"I've worked with Jans for four years, very successfully not only because we were winning cups but also building something," Nijkamp said. "We created something together in our roles. It convinced me that he could be the right version we need for this project and build this club to the next level."
And FC Cincy fans can be rest assured they found a boss who eats, sleeps, and breathes soccer. Jans spent the first minute of his presser glowing about his family and wife, the deciding vote in coming to the US. But after that?
"I'm a family man, but the rest of my life is football," he said.