Jaap Stam - Feyenoord - sideline coaching
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FC Cincinnati president confirms Jaap Stam as top choice for coach opening

FC Cincinnati have zeroed in on their next head coach, according to cub president Jeff Berding.

During a recent story with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Berding highlighted Dutch manager Jaap Stam as their lead choice. Stam first emerged as a possible candidate back in mid-April, with LA Galaxy assistant coach Dominic Kinnear then reported as another possibility.

"I would not characterize him (Stam) as the only candidate, but he is the main candidate," Berding said. "We have some additional work to do."

Berding’s remarks come shortly after general manager Gerard Nijkamp talked in broader terms about the potential candidate. One major hurdle is the U.S. border remains shut to European travelers due to the COVID-19 pandemic

"It's, at this moment, a fact that it is not allowed if this candidate is coming from abroad because I'm still not talking about the name," Nijkamp said earlier this week. "But it is a fact that if it is an international candidate, the borders are closed. And that is also true for me and I knew that the moment I was taking a plane to the Netherlands."

Otherwise, Berding addressed the progress of FC Cincinnati's West End Stadium. In a new development, he said fans will soon be able to vote on seating colors and arrangements.

"You see in some stadiums now where they intersperse different colors to maybe create a pattern," Berding said. "Maybe it says something. Maybe there's a picture with the different color seats, and so we're going to post online a fan poll, if you will, for fans to weigh in with the stadium design that they like."

Stam was in charge of Eredivisie side Feyenoord before stepping down in October, and served as the head coach of Reading and PEC Zwolle in past seasons. A center back who played for Manchester United and other storied clubs, Stam’s time at PEC Zwolle overlapped with Nijkamp.

Previous head coach Ron Jans resigned in February before the 2020 MLS season began, all during an investigation surrounding a complaint made by the MLS Players Association that accused Jans of making "extremely inappropriate comments." Yoann Damet took over on an interim basis, and steered Cincy to an 0-2 start in 2020 before the league-wide suspension.