New FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans plans to press, build from the back

MILFORD, Ohio – Now that the niceties and cute anecdotes have been exchanged with new head coach Ron Jans, what can we expect from FC Cincinnati on the pitch?

At his introductory press conference, the Dutch head coach outlined a definitive vision for FC Cincy's style of play that should excite not just those in the Queen City, but fans of the beautiful game everywhere.

“I like to press high and win the ball as soon as possible,” Jans remarked. “But when its 90 degrees [Fahrenheit], you can't expect that from the players for a full game. It doesn’t fit this club to just defend, wait for mistakes, and play from counterattack. We try to build from behind. When we lose the ball, it's very important to win it back as soon as possible. For me, the principles of playing football are to build from behind and be very aggressive with high intensity when you don’t have the ball.”

Cincinnati fans would probably sign up for an offshoot of the Jurgen Klopp-popularized gegenpressing in a heartbeat. But Jans noted it won't happen all at once.

“It always takes time to change everything in football. Yet they're already showing that,” he said. “Watch tape of the Toronto FC game [a 2-1 FCC loss on July 27] and throw away the first half. But in the second, you could see some things. They put on pressure and scored a goal by winning the ball, one pass, and one shot. I hope we can produce more of that down the road.”

Jans also knows flexibility is needed to strike a balance between this season and the roster going forward.

“There will be changes in the future,” he said, “but the first thing is to work with this team and see how they do and who fits into the future plans. The future is bright, so let's go and work with that.”

Similar to his new gig, Jans started his eight-year managing stint at Groningen in midseason. And as he told it, “we stayed up the first year. After that, a new stadium, and before long we had big players – Luis Suarez is the most famous – and several other international players played for our club. They are good examples for how it should go.”

General manager Gerard Nijkamp likes the staff he's assembled to help Jans shape the roster. Despite their relative unfamiliarity with the MLS, he noted, “soccer is universal. I'm learning every day and Ron will do it the same way. We have very good people around us. The technical staff here has experience as players and coaches in America. That will impact how we make our decisions. Sometimes, it's good that you don't know everything; that makes your mind fresh when making decisions.”

Jans will get a baptism by fire Saturday when FC Cincy travel two hours north to take on Columbus Crew SC for their first rivalry match (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info).

“I leave that to Yoann [Damet] and the other staff members,” Jans offered when asked about prepping for the rivalry. “For me, it's more important what we do. I'm not going to change everything 180 degrees in five games. I have to accept that I need a little bit of time with the team.”


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