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Jeff Berding Reddit AMA – Complete Responses

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On Wednesday afternoon, FC Cincinnati President & General Manager Jeff Berding joined Reddit.com for a AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview. The AMA was hosted on the websites sub-reddit /r/MLS which acts as a general home for soccer followers in North America.

Over 100 followers submitted questions to Berding during the one hour time slot from Noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Berding responded to 30 questions and shed some light on how the off-season will progress.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and FC Cincinnati GM Jeff Berding

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley (left) and FC Cincinnati GM Jeff Berding (right).

In this format, fan could submit any question that they wanted in the hopes that Berding would answer the. To his credit he was very open and honest with many questions and gave much insight into the organization. Topics such as MLS expansion, roster formation, financial viability were among the many questions targeted toward the GM.

Cincinnati Soccer Talk live-tweeted the event and have provided a compilation of the questions and answers below. We have included our comments with several of these answers.  You may have to click the images to see full resolution. We hope you enjoy.

Cluster Answer Response:

Note that in answer 3, Berding states that grass in not something they are discussing. This goes against what FCC has commented on in the past in saying that grass could be brought in for friendlies. Now, I do believe Berding was discussing this in the context of a permanent solution, so it looks like while in Nippert, FC Cincinnati will be playing on artificial turf.

Question 4 Response:

I agree that having close proximity to Columbus is a good thing. Having a Cincinnati club in MLS could also help with a potential rivalry with a future St. Louis MLS club.

Question 7 Response:

It looks like Fußball Club Cincinnati is on hold for the time being. When discussing his upcoming travels, I want to draw your attention to “other matters”. What could this mean? Preseason training agreements, player loans, future development partnerships? It looks like Berding is doing his homework on what it takes to become a player on the global stage.

Question 8 Response:

Common theme on this entire thread. Nippert Stadium is a quality & professional venue.

Question 9 Response:

Berding addresses a common misconception that college students make up a majority of our fan base. While they do have a strong presence, if you have been to several games, you know that they are a small portion of the overall base. FC Cincinnati has the luxury to sell tickets at a low price point while in the USL. If and When FC Cincinnati makes it to MLS, it will be interesting to see if this part of the fan base remains.

Question 10 Response:

WHOA!!!! FC Cincinnati operated in the black (positive profit) this season! That is wonderful. If I am Berding, I showcase the general financials to further improve the clubs position with MLS. This stat impressed me and if true, should be shared as a model for other USL clubs. I understand that FC Cincinnati is a privately owned company, but imagine if clubs will begin to use FC Cincinnati as the base point in the growth of the sport in the US.

Double Questions 14 Response:

I agree with Berding that the community engagement has been wonderful. Whether it was Andrew Wiedeman reading in CPS schools, Jimmy McLaughlin doing the dance class, or four players showing up to the CST FootGolf Classic, FC Cincy has been well received and appreciated. If the club would reach MLS, I would have to think that changes somewhat.
“Soccer is an urban sport, and we feel strongly that we should always play in the urban core.” This was my most well received comment from Berding. We have seen many times where clubs build outside of the city (Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas) where their support appears diminished. The rejuvenation of the city and the influx of young people clearly are making a difference with the support of the club at games and in the community.

Response Photo 15:

I’m taking this as we will pop bottles in the Bailey if we win. Literal or metaphorical, I think many would be happy with that.

Response Berding 16:

I have said on the podcast that Jeff Berding’s situation can be compared to former Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz and how it initially made me nervous. Both were instrumental in bringing their clubs to fruition, and both were “non-soccer guys” (excluding Kings Hammer) who were place in the soccer decision process. Sakiewicz almost alienated the entire Union fanbase by making poor player moves and not relying on a true soccer specific executive. Luckily it looks like Berding knows that there are others around him that have a greater soccer background than he. I am sure that he is gaining in his knowledge, but at the end of the day, FC Cincinnati will need to have a dedicated technical backroom staff.

Good Job Jeff!

Berding 18 Response:

We all knew this question was coming. Thanks to all the Loisburg Town SC United fans for spreading this rumor. We all know the circumstances that happened with several local Fortune 1000 companies purchasing blocks of tickets for their employees. The only time I found evidence of this was for the first Louietown Village FC game and the playoff game vs. Charleston. Either time, large portions of the stadium were already sold. This is standard practice and is even written into several sponsorship or partnerships across many professional leagues.

Berding 22 Response:

Not surprised that there is not much of a comment here. They might be negotiating for land and cannot elaborate.

Berding 23 Response:

Well, tell your friends to get season tickets right now. I am interested to see where these prices go. Most organizations increase their prices when they have something that validates it. To me, this could point to a potential jump in player salaries with some new “higher-level” signings, similar with what Tampa Bay did with Joe Cole. Or at least I hope. It’s probably only a small jump, but any jump will be noticeable.

Berding 25 Response:

This again could point towards some new players, but let’s face it, our current core did very well. But like any league in North America, if you don’t continually improve on your best level of player, you will see a drop in performance. Look at Crew SC from 2015 to 2016 without adding a quality new signing.

Berding 26 Response:

Who doesn’t love when their GM says that we should expect to bolster our on-field presence. I am really thinking that something big, player wise, could be coming this offseason. People WANT to be a part of FC Cincinnati.

Berding 28 Response:

FC Cincinnati has done well with this in their first season. Yes they are not NYCFC building Futsal courts around the city, but you do see them appear at camps, coaching etc. How many Paul Nicholson photos have you seen with Kings Hammer this season? This is an area that will only get better with time.

Berding 29 Response:

We can only hope that Berding and FC Cincinnati listen to this comment. Michael Stump has been brilliant in his designs and I hope that we can adopt some of them in the future. Imagine if our local club really went local and incorporated several of Stump’s themes vs. contriving a kit similar to the Columbus 2016 home kit (Sorry C’bus, Banana Kits are the best).

Check at Michael’s work at Alchmst.com or on his Twitter page @MichaelJStump.

You can also review the official Reddit page HERE. Also a special shout out to Director of Communications DJ Switzer for getting Berding on the AMA.

@bryanweigel for @cincysoccertalk

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