FC Cincinnati and Jimmy McLaughlin fans can officially relax. As first reported by Cincinnati Soccer Talk on Friday morning, the club has offered McLaughlin a contract for the 2020 season. FC Cincinnati made it official Friday afternoon, confirming McLaughlin earned a spot on coach Ron Jans’ squad. The speedy winger had been a trialist with FCC in Tucson, Arizona, without a contract and did enough to impress the Dutch coach to stick around for at least one more season.
McLaughlin sat out the 2019 MLS inaugural season after an ACL injury last offseason in Philadelphia while preparing for the campaign. In FC Cincinnati’s final year in USL in 2018, he was only one of four players to appear in 30 matches that season. He tallied two goals and four assists as FC Cincinnati cruised to the USL regular season title. He also became the first player in club history to reach the 100 appearance milestone.
“It means the world to me just to be a part of this team,” McLaughlin said in a club media release. “The last year has been a tough challenge mentally and physically. I want to thank the Lindner family, the entire ownership group, (club president) Jeff Berding, (general manager) Gerard Nijkamp, the coaching staff, the medical staff and the players for their support and help in getting me back to this level. I love this team and I love this city and I’m excited for the 2020 season.”
Many of FC Cincinnati’s fans thought that with recent roster moves made by the club and with new management in place that it would be tough for “Pennsylvania Messi” to make the 2020 squad. However, the pacey winger impressed Jans and Nijkamp this preseason.
“Jimmy has shown his quality and has demonstrated a strong work rate on the pitch during preseason,” Nijkamp said in the media release. “He remained focused and put in the required work to get back to full health after a tough injury. We are excited for Jimmy to compete for our club on the pitch in 2020. He is a great representative of what it means to be part of FC Cincinnati.”
With McLaughin’s signing, it means there will be at least one player still on FC Cincinnati’s roster from its inaugural USL season in 2016.