Former USMNT defender Eric Lichaj named FC Cincinnati U19 Head Coach


The FC Cincinnati Academy have hired Eric Lichaj as the club’s U19 Head Coach, the club announced today. Lichaj, a former player with 16 caps for the United States Men’s National Team, had previously been part of the coaching staff with the Nottingham Forest U23 squad.

“We are very excited to bring in a coach with Eric’s background,” said Larry Sunderland, FC Cincinnati’s Director of Player Development. “He played at a high level with the USMNT and across England, and he brings his wealth of playing experience combined with his coaching knowledge to our Academy. We’re really excited to have him part of a coaching staff with many different backgrounds and experiences as players and as coaches.”

Lichaj was born in Downers Grove, Illinois before moving to Florida at age 14 to join the U17 US Youth National Team. He enrolled at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to play with the Tar Heels before signing a professional contract with English Premier League side Aston Villa in 2007.

“I’m delighted to be joining FC Cincinnati’s Academy,” Lichaj said. “It’s exciting to be part of this club and its growing academy system. I’m happy to be here and ready to get started.”

He made over 350 career club appearances in his 14-year career including with Lincoln City, Leyton Orient, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Fatih Karagümrük (TUR).

Lichaj made 16 appearances with the USMNT from 2010-18, making his debut on October 13, 2010 in a friendly against Colombia. The defender played in two CONCACAF Gold Cups, including the 2017 Gold Cup-winning squad for the Americans where he scored his lone goal for his country in the quarterfinals against El Salvador.

He has served on the Nottingham Forest U23 coaching staff since his playing career retirement in 2021. He made 190 appearances with Forest in his playing career between 2013-18.

Lichaj fills the role previously held by Tyrone Marshall, who was named FC Cincinnati 2 Head Coach in February.