Speaking as an FC Cincinnati player for the first time, midfielder Haris Medunjanin said he’s excited for an opportunity to make an impact for the Orange and Blue in 2020.
Medunjanin signed Thursday morning after Cincinnati selected the 34-year-old first overall in the MLS Waivers Draft on Nov. 25.
“I already had a nice conversation with (head coach) Ron Jans before the draft started and I had some offers,” Medunjanin told reporters on a conference call from Amsterdam. “The real interest was from Cincinnati. The coach, Ron Jans, and the sport director, Gerard (Nijkamp), gave me the feeling that I can contribute to the team, help the team and play like they want to play. That was most important for me.”
Medunjanin said a half-hour phone call with Jans ahead of the draft helped seal the move. During that call, Jans wanted to know more about a player he once coached against a decade ago back in the Netherlands. At the time, Jans coached FC Groningen, while Medunjanin was a teenager with AZ Alkmaar and also playing with the Dutch youth national team.
There’s no doubt the familiarity helped the midfielder grow more comfortable and trust Jans, a coach he called “very well respected” in the Netherlands. As for Jans, acquiring Medunjanin means another strong option in the midfielder who can play the fluid, possession-based style FC Cincinnati want to implement
“(Jans) will show Cincinnati what kind of coach he is because he understands the game and wants his team to play attractive football,” the player said. “That was also a key for me to come.”
Medunjanin, who’s played 60 matches for the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Team, also explained how he can play in Jans’ approach in 2020.
“I’m a player in front of the defense and I’m trying to move the ball very easy from the back to the front,” Medunjanin said. “I’m a key guy there. Trying to pass the balls between the lines and the other midfielders so the strikers can turn and attack the goal. I’m always trying to find the guys forward.”
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA Today Sports
In 2019, Medunjanin played every minute for the Philadelphia Union as a deep-lying playmaker. He finished with 10 assists, which led the Union and would’ve doubled FCC’s team-leader.
The mid said despite his age, he’s ready to play every minute again in 2020 if called upon.
“I’m always going to give 100 percent,” he said. “In training, I’m not taking breaks. I’m feeling good … I hope to play every game and hopefully we can make the playoffs this year. That’s my goal and I hope it should be the goal of the team, the fans and everyone in the club.
“The margin is not that big,” he added. “When you start the first year as a new team, it’s always a bit difficult, but hopefully the second year will be much better.”