FC Cincinnati is once again out of a head coach, being led by interim manager Yoann Damet for the second time in just as many years. The team is looking much better than it did the last time it was looking for a new manager, which should help bring in more candidates. Gerard Nijkamp, FCC’s general manager, has done a great job finding players that fit with a similar system, and now it’s time to find a coach that brings the best out of those players.
However, COVID-19 and everything around that, including the MLS stoppage, has put a wrench in that cog. Or has it? There might be some pros to the stoppage in terms of the coaching search, and those pros and cons are what I’ll go over.
The biggest pro to how the MLS stoppage might help the coaching search is, obviously, the amount of time it is giving the front office to find the right person. The team isn’t constantly losing games and making it feel like it needs to rush the process. It allows everyone to get involved in the process and make sure they get as close to the perfect candidate as possible. It also allows Nijkamp, club president Jeff Berding and everyone else to go through everything to find who they feel is the correct person for the job in terms of culture, playing style and anything else they are looking for.
This also comes into play for the next pro, because if the team does find someone prior to the season starting back up, then that new manager would be able to install some of his points into the system. It would essentially allow the staff to hit the ground running with the new hire instead of starting everything from scratch when games are already going on.
The last pro is that even though the front office can’t personally meet with candidates, technology has made it possible to do as much as they need to see if the candidate is right for the job. The front office has everything it needs to find the right person.
On the other side of the coin, there are a few reasons the MLS stoppage and the inability to actually meet with people would greatly hinder the search. The first con of this is that you could get everything you need from the candidate — like who they are, their style and what they want from the players. However, something you can’t get through a video call is the feeling of the room. You can’t get a real sense of how the relationship between the players, coaches and front office is going to be through a screen. It’s like going through the talking phase on Tinder. You might be the two most compatible people through a messenger and video call, but until you actually meet the other person you can’t really be sure.
Another con of the MLS stoppage is that even though the team looks miles better than last season, we’ve only seen that a couple of times this season. A lot of candidates might see this job and think “Why would I go there when I could go somewhere else?” FCC has also had four coaches in five years, and new coaches might see that and wonder if they’re next.
Overall, FCC is in the midst of one of the most important coaching search in its short history. Finding the right candidate could immediately catapult the team into the playoff race and look even better to possible new players. If it found the right candidate during this time, that would be great. But, it also needs to be sure they are the correct person because there’s nothing worse than meeting someone for the first time and they’re on their phone the whole time.