Jaap Stam named head coach

CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp has announced the official hiring of Jaap Stam (pronounced YAHPP STAHM) as the club’s new head coach.

Stam, 47, joins FC Cincinnati following managerial stints in England at Reading (2016-18), as well as in his native Holland at PEC Zwolle (2018-19) and Feyenoord (2019). Stam had a prolific 15-year playing career which saw him star at some of the highest-profile clubs in the world in the Netherlands, England and Italy – including PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, A.C. Milan and Ajax.

“We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati’s new head coach,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “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,” Nijkamp said.

The new FC Cincinnati head coach will be formally introduced via an online video call with media at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, May 22, which will also be streamed on the club’s Facebook page.

“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,” Stam said. “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.”

He will oversee his first FC Cincinnati training session upon his arrival in the U.S., which is pending the receipt of his U.S. P-1 Visa.

“We’re excited to welcome Jaap to the club,” Carl H. Lindner III, FC Cincinnati CEO and Controlling Owner, said. “Through this search process, we were very focused on ensuring we had aligned ambitions with our next head coach, and we believe we’ve found a perfect candidate for FC Cincinnati’s next phase. We’re pleased to have Jaap as part of the family and look forward to him joining us soon.”

“I want to applaud the search that Gerard led for us,” Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati president, said. “It was a thorough and comprehensive global search that yielded a deep and talented candidate pool. We’re happy to welcome Jaap to Cincinnati and look forward to him leading us as we start a new chapter of our club story.”

Stam is the fourth head coach in the club’s MLS history and its fifth overall, including its United Soccer League seasons (2016-18). He has signed a managerial contract through Dec. 31, 2021 with a one-year club option for the 2022 season.


Also joining Stam’s coaching staff in Cincinnati is new assistant coach Said Bakkati, who will formally join the staff in Cincinnati upon receipt of his U.S. work visa. Bakkati served on Stam’s staff previously at Jong Ajax, Reading, PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord.

Bakkati was born in Groningen, Nertherlands, and enjoyed a 15-year professional playing career as a fullback that included stops throughout the Netherlands including Heerenveen (2000-06), ADO Den Haag (2006-07), Go Ahead Eagles (2007-09), FC Zwolle (2009-12) and FC Emmen (2012-15).


Born in Kampen, Netherlands, Stam began his youth career with local amateur club DOS Kampen before signing his first professional contract with second-tier side FC Zwolle in 1992. The center back made 32 appearances and scored one goal for FC Zwolle in his first professional season, earning a move to newly promoted Eredivisie club, SC Cambuur. Stam made 66 appearances and scored three goals in two seasons with Cambuur.

Prior to the 1995-96 season, Stam joined Eredivisie club Willem II and remained in the top divisions across the Netherlands, England and Italy for the final 12 seasons of his playing career.

After just 19 matches with Willem II, Stam impressed to earn a move to perennial Dutch title contender PSV Eindhoven for the second half of the campaign. In his first full season with PSV, Stam was a key player in the side’s Eredivisie league championship and Dutch Super Cup-winning campaign. At the conclusion of the season, Stam was named Dutch Footballer of the Year. The defender made 98 appearances and scored 11 goals across all competitions during his three seasons with PSV Eindhoven.

Firmly established as one of the world’s best central defenders, Stam joined Premier League side Manchester United, which had claimed four of the previous five Premier League titles. Stam went on to capture three Premier League titles in his three seasons with the club in the midst of their run winning eight EPL championships in the 10-season span of 1992-93 to 2002-03. Additionally, Stam and Manchester United captured the elusive treble during the 1998-99 season, winning the Premier League title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in the same season. Stam made 127 competitive appearances across all competitions, registering only 17 losses during the three-year span with the Red Devils.

Following three full seasons at Manchester United, Stam moved to Lazio in Italy’s Serie A, beginning a five-season stretch in the country’s top flight. The defender earned his first Italian-based trophy when Lazio claimed the 2004 Italian Cup. The center back totaled 94 appearances across all competitions with Lazio.

After three seasons with Lazio, Stam joined A.C. Milan. In his first season with the club, Milan captured the Italian Super Cup and reached the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final. He went on to make 65 appearances and score two goals across all competitions for A.C. Milan.

Stam finished his career in his native Holland with Ajax, where he played for two seasons. At Ajax, Stam captured the Dutch Super Cup in 2006 and 2007, as well as the Dutch Cup in 2007. He logged 52 appearances and scored two goals in all competitions for the Amsterdam club.

An experienced Dutch international, Stam earned 67 caps for the Netherlands. He played in three UEFA European Championships (1996, 2000, 2004) and competed for the Oranje in the 1998 FIFA World Cup – reaching the semifinals in each of the latter three competitions.

After retiring from playing, Stam returned to Manchester United as a South American scout in 2008. He then started his coaching career in 2009, when he returned to PEC Zwolle as an assistant coach. After four seasons, Stam returned to Ajax in 2013 as an assistant coach for the club’s 2013-14 Eredivisie championship season.

Following the campaign, Stam was announced as one of the new managers of Jong Ajax, the club’s reserve team that plays in the Dutch second division.

After two seasons with Jong Ajax, Stam made the move to England in 2016 where he became the manager of English Championship club Reading, which had just finished 17th in the Championship. In his first season, Stam guided The Royals to a third-place finish to qualify for the 2017 EFL Championship Play-Offs. Reading advanced to the Championship Play-Off Final, where they fell to Huddersfield Town in penalties. Narrowly missing promotion to the Premier League.

Following two seasons at Reading, Stam returned to PEC Zwolle in the middle of the 2018-19 Eredivisie season, where he led the 16th-place side to a 7-7-3 record and a 13th place finish and remain in the Eredivisie for the following season.

Following the end of the campaign, he joined Feyenoord where he served as manager for part of the 2019-20 Eredivisie season.

Stay up-to-date with FC Cincinnati by following the club’s social media accounts at @FCCincinnati or visiting fccincinnati.com. For the club’s on-going updates related to the current public health crisis, please visit fccincinnati.com/season-suspension-updates.

Deposits are now being accepted for premium seating opportunities at West End Stadium, which will open in Spring 2021. A $100 deposit made by June 12 secures a place in line to select seats in one of the stadium’s four distinct premium club areas. Traditional reserved seating will go on sale later in 2020. For more information about 2021 season memberships, visit westendstadium.com, or the stadium’s social properties at @WestEndStadium.