FC Cincinnati made a big splash on Tuesday morning, announcing the signing of former San Francisco Deltas forward Tommy Heinemann for the 2018 season. Heinemann logged 40+ appearances in Major League Soccer between Columbus Crew SC and the Vancouver Whitecaps and has made stops in the USL and NASL before arriving in Cincinnati.
The Missouri native has scored over 50 goals as a professional and brings a winning track record to FC Cincinnati. Heinemann and fellow FCC signee Tyler Gibson won the 2017 NASL Soccer Bowl with the San Francisco Deltas with the forward scoring a penalty. The 30-year-old also made a runner-up appearance in the 2015 NASL Soccer Bowl with the Ottawa Fury, was the MVP in the 2010 USSF D2 Championship with Charlotte, and won the 2010 USL2 (D3) title with the Charleston Battery.
“Tommy is a big and strong center-forward who leads through his actions,” Head Coach Alan Koch commented. “Not only does he score goals, but his work-rate defensively sets the tone for the entire team. He was a major part of why the San Francisco Deltas won the NASL this last season and we anticipate that he will be a big part of our team. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Cincinnati.”
Heinemann will offer a different look at the forward position compared to strikers Sean Okoli and Djiby Fall. At 6’4”, 190 pounds, Tommy should feature as a quality hold up man for Coach Koch while giving defensive help when pressuring opposing defenders to make an errant pass.
The self-proclaimed “late bloomer” has bounced around the USSF pyramid but will bring experience and a professional mentality to FCC. “He’s so important to the team,” said former Deltas Head Coach Marc dos Santos in an interview to US Soccer. “And he has experience in those moments where everything is on the line.” Heinemann notched 12 goals in all competitions for San Francisco in 2017. That tied his total from 2015 which included four goals in the NASL playoffs.
The big man was not the most efficient striker in NASL this past season with a 15% conversion rate (Djiby Fall 20%), but may offer more on the pitch than just playing ability. “Tommy’s a guy who’s gonna fight the entire game. He’s gonna be in your ear, in the ref’s ear. He’s gonna be all over you throwing elbows. He’s a handful. Every defender in the league knows that,” said NY Cosmos defender Ryan Richter to Empire of Soccer prior to the NASL final.
While he has a decent track record of scoring, don’t expect Heinemann to challenge for the FC Cincinnati scoring record of 16 goals in 2018 (Okoli 2016, Fall 2017). This isn’t to say he could not score that many. I expect the forward to be involved in holding up play more and knowing when to pass the ball to his oncoming teammates. I could easily see FCC trot out a 3-5-2 with Heinemann and König up top or even seeing him as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1.
This signing is a massive coup for Coach Koch and Cincinnati. Rumors out of other USL & NASL markets say that the forward was a target of many clubs with FC Cincinnati winning out. His high work rate is something many FCC fans have clamored for in the forward position since the start of the club.
Heinemann along with his trademark mane has the opportunity to become the face of the club in 2018. While not directly out of MLS, this forward has all the makings of a league MVP. Not many forwards have his track record of scoring but also making sure his team sees success in the standings.
This is a great signing for Coach Koch and FC Cincinnati. We cannot wait to see the veteran in Nippert for 2018. Check out his highlight video below to see his skill and passion on the pitch.