FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch and GM Jeff Berding have pulled off a coup with the signing of NASL Bext XI Midfielder/Forward Emmanuel Ledesma. This move will surely turn heads in the American soccer community as Ledesma is widely regarded as an MLS if not higher level talent. It is rumored that at least one MLS team was looking to pick up Ledesma.
Ledesma most recently spent time with the New York Cosmos tallying 10 goals and 6 assists in 21 total appearances. The versatile attacker joined the NASL side in March of 2017 but didn’t debut until April 30th. In his 19 regular season league matches, he finished 4th in scoring and 3rd in assists.
“Emmanuel is a fantastic attacking player that has the ability to make something out of nothing. He has proven himself around the world and is coming off an excellent season with the Cosmos,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “We know that he will make a big impact with our club and we are excited to introduce him to our fans. He has an infectious personality and we look forward to working with him here in Cincinnati.”
The 29-year-old Argentine came to the states after spells in the Greek Super Liga with Panetolikos and with English Championship side Brentford City FC. Ledesma has made some impressive international stops with appearances for Queens Park Rangers, Middlesborough, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Serie B clubs Salernitana and Crotone. In his short stint with the New York Cosmos, he was voted as the NASL October Player of the Month and was named to the NASL Best XI. He led New York to the 2017 NASL Soccer Bowl where the Cosmos fell to the San Francisco Deltas and current FCC teammates Tyler Gibson & Tommy Heinemann.
We asked NASL expert Nipun Chopra (@NipunChopra7) of SocTakes.com about Ledesma. “He can play in all three positions behind the striker, but his best position is just behind the striker. Would benefit from a holding midfielder who can constantly play the ball to his feet, allowing him to turn and strike from distance.”
“I would wager he will be the most technically gifted player on your team,” said Chopra. “Best long-range shooting in the NASL. Scored clutch goals to secure points for Cosmos.”
Ledesma’s signing would bring FC Cincinnati to the full allotment of 7 international players and 22 signees for the 2018 USL season. Koch and Berding have stated that the club would bring in approx. 24-25 players for the upcoming campaign. If that is true, look for a third goalkeeper and perhaps 1 or 2 additional players. If the Nazmi Albadawi signing does comes to fruition, Coach Alan Koch will have assembled one of the best attacking squads in the USL and should be picked to finish towards the top of the table.
FC Cincinnati fans can see some highlights of Emmanuel Ledesma to get excited for the upcoming season.