Stam returns to management with MLS side
Manchester United great Jaap Stam is officially back in football, after it was announced on Thursday that he is the new head coach of Major League Soccer side FC Cincinnati.
The Dutch legend never shirked a challenge throughout his popular playing career and now that he's a manager, it will clearly take more than a global pandemic to halt the 47-year-old's ambitions.
Of course, the MLS season was suspended after two rounds of fixtures due to coronavirus – with Cincinnati suffering a couple of disappointing defeats - yet clubs returned to training this week after the league cleared the start of voluntary individual workouts in line with government policies.
“For myself, to get the opportunity to work in America and to work in MLS for a club like FC Cincinnati, it's a dream,” Jaap said in a statement. “I've always liked the country and I've always liked the mentality of the people in the States as well in what they're trying to achieve.
“To get the opportunity to work for FC Cincinnati and this project by building the club - hopefully even further than where they already are, because I think they've already done a great job - but being a presence as a team, even more in MLS, getting results and working together with the fans and everybody already working within the club, for me it's a big challenge to do well.”
Jaap’s bullish style was typified in 1999 in one famous exchange with Ivan Zamorano in 1999, when the great Inter Milan striker backed into his space – only to find a stubborn, immovable presence.
That iconic Treble season was the highlight of Stam’s three-year stay at United, in which he made 127 appearances and lifted six major trophies – including three consecutive Premier League titles.
Stam started his post-playing career with Jong Ajax in 2014 before spending two years in charge of Reading in the Championship, even facing United in the FA Cup in 2017. He joined PEC Zwolle for 2018/19 before taking over at Feyenoord in June 2019, only to step down three months later.
“We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati's new head coach," said the club’s general manager Gerard Nijkamp on Thursday. “He has an extensive background in being part of some of the most successful clubs in the world as a player and has also proven that he can guide teams through transitionary periods as a head coach.
“I strongly believe that Jaap can lead us through our next phase, to our new stadium, and help us achieve our goals in the future, making players better and bringing his knowledge and experience inside the club. I have full confidence that he will be successful at FC Cincinnati and will be a great fit to carry out our established playing philosophy and guide the club to achieve future successes.”
Good luck with your new challenge, Jaap.