Less than 24 hours after FC Cincinnati closed the books on its second MLS season, the club announced initial roster decisions impacting players who were not on guaranteed contracts for 2021.
FCC, which repeated its last-place finish with a 4-15-4 record, has 15 players now expected to return for another season with the potential for four others to be added back on new contracts.
The Orange and Blue exercised options on Zico Bailey, Ben Lundt and Haris Medunjanin and declined options on 12 players: Rashawn Dally, Siem de Jong, Mathieu Deplagne, Greg Garza, Joseph-Claude Gyau, Bobby Edwards, Tommy McCabe, Jimmy McLaughlin, Hassan Ndam, Rey Ortiz, Caleb Stanko and Kendall Waston.
Also out of contract are Andrew Gutman, who was on loan from Celtic, Nick Hagglund and Spencer Richey, who were playing on 2020 options, and Przemysław Tytoń.
The club remains in negotiations with Gyau, Stanko, Gutman, Hagglund and Tyton for future contract possibilities.
“Making end-of-year roster decisions is always an important step to take as we continue the process of building a roster that fits our playing philosophy,” General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said in statement provided by the club in a news release. “There are always difficult decisions to be made, and oftentimes, a mutual parting of ways between a player and a club proves to be the best decision for both parties.”
“We have seen the potential in a number of players who have shown their quality and how they can fit within the club’s playing style,” he added.
A total of 12 players have guaranteed contracts for the 2021 season: Saad Abdul-Salaam, Frankie Amaya, Alvaro Barreal, Allan Cruz, Franko Kovačević, Yuya Kubo, Jürgen Locadia, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Tom Pettersson, Beckham Sunderland, Maikel van der Werff and Brandon Vazquez. Locadia and Kovačević are on loan through June 30, 2021, but Kovačević will be evaluated in the preseason to determine whether he will remain on the roster.
With these moves, Nijkamp is continuing to overhaul the roster he inherited when he came on board last May, three weeks after the firing of coach Alan Koch. Ron Jans, who was hired Aug. 4, 2019, was involved in roster moves last offseason before he departed the club in February, less than two weeks before the start of the season. Now, Jaap Stam brings new ideas that led to further need for changes as 19 contracts were set to expire after this season — including three who had chances to trigger 2021 guarantees based on playing time.
For a more in-depth story on these announcements, subscribers will find an updated version posted separately, along with several follow-up stories based on interviews Monday and over the next two weeks with players.