In the grand scheme of things, FC Cincinnati has a short but rich history here in the city and in American soccer. The club has provided many incredible moments not only in the city but on the American soccer scene. The club and its fans showed an incredible passion that undoubtedly helped land the club into the MLS. This is the first part of a series where we take a look at a few of the names from years past in FC Cincinnati history and what they are doing now.
Antoine Hoppenot was one of the originals. He signed with FC Cincinnati from the Philadelphia Union/Harrisburg City Islanders on a free transfer. He only appeared in 13 matches for FC Cincinnati. Hoppenot left the club after the 2016 season and joined Reno 1868 of the Western Conference of the USL. Hoppenot spent two seasons with Reno 1868, making the playoffs both seasons. Hoppenot scored 17 goals and added 22 assists over those two seasons in Reno. After the 2018 season, Hoppenot headed southeast, signing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 2019 USL Championship season. His tenure with the Rowdies only lasted less than half the season, as the Rowdies dealt him to Louisville City on June 27. Hoppenot has scored twice this season, once in Open Cup play for the Rowdies and once in USL Championship play for Louisville City.
When it comes to cult heroes, there might not be anyone bigger than Mitch Hildebrandt for FC Cincinnati fans. For two seasons, Hildebrandt was the backstop that helped secure some of the best memories in FCC history. After every save, “Mitch says no!” would ring out from the Bailey and the stadium. As you may know, he left FC Cincinnati for a spot with Atlanta United after the 2017 season. With United States men’s national team keeper Brad Guzan between the pipes, he found it difficult to crack the MLS side. He featured with USL side Atlanta United 2 but was released at the end of last season. Mitch has since retired from professional soccer and has moved back home to Michigan, where he is now a realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Services and still assists in soccer camps up in Michigan, where he does work with the goalkeepers.
Tyler Polak was another player who John Harkes and FC Cincinnati brought in for the inaugural season. Polak spent two seasons with the Orange and Blue before leaving the club after his contract expired. The defender signed with Miami FC for the 2018 season but left the NPSL side after the season. He then joined USL side Saint Louis FC for the remainder of the USL season. He made seven appearances for Saint Louis FC, where he tallied an assist during his tenure. After moving on from Saint Louis FC, he now plays for Harkes once again, for the Greenville Triumph of USL League One. Polak is a prominent figure for the Triumph, where he is their captain.
Like Polak, Mohamed was a player who Harkes brought in for the 2016 season. Mohamed made 18 appearances for FC Cincinnati during that season before leaving after that first year. Mohamed signed with the USL Portland Timbers 2 for the 2017 season. He scored one goal and added two assists in 28 appearances with the club. After the 2017 season, Mohamed joined the Des Moines Menace of USL League 2. He scored three goals in just 12 appearances for the side. His performance in Des Moines was enough to catch the eye of Harkes, who brought Mohamed to Greenville for the 2019 USL League One season. He has featured in 13 matches for the Triumph so far this season.
Like Hildebrandt, Sean Okoli had a major impact for the Orange and Blue. Like the others mentioned, Okoli joined FC Cincinnati for the 2016 season. He stormed through the league, scoring goal after goal. Okoli finished the 2016 season with 16 goals, one assist, the USL Golden Boot award and the USL MVP award. After that 2016 performance, MLS side New York City FC came knocking. Okoli joined the MLS side for the 2017 season, where he made 19 appearances, scoring one goal. His time in New York was sadly short-lived as the club released him following the 2017 season. He found work in Europe, signing for Superettan of Sweden’s second-tier. He made nine appearances with the club, scoring one goal. After leaving Superettan, Okoli headed to the second tier of Norway’s league, signing with OBOS-ligaen. In his 2018 campaign with them, Okoli once again found the back of the net, scoring once and adding an assist as well. It is believed that Okoli is currently without a club.
**Update** Sean Okoli has signed with Saalfelden in the third tier in Austria.