Freeman’s promotion shows structural shift

Following a 13-year career as a professional soccer player, Hunter Freeman’s job now focuses on finding the next best talent. That role just got even more important.

On Monday, FC Cincinnati named Freeman the first-ever Director of Scouting and Player Recruitment. Now overseeing the club’s scouting and recruiting efforts, he’s one of six department heads on the technical staff who report directly to general manager Gerard Nijkamp.

“He’s shown his quality already in identifying talented players and managing that process," Nijkamp said of Freeman. "I’m very positive about this change ... I’ve been very impressed working with him the last few months. I know that he will do a great job in this new role. We look forward to him growing the scouting and recruitment area.”

Technically, Freeman’s been on board at FCC since October 2018, but the new role means new responsibilities. Originally hired as a domestic scout, he was promoted to director of domestic scouting in February. That meant scouting players in MLS, USL, college soccer and more. In addition, he traveled abroad to find the next Orange and Blue players, assisting with the club’s international scouting efforts.

Luke Sassano, who stepped away from his role as the club’s Technical Director for family reasons, said Freeman acted as his “right arm” in building the roster and recruiting players.

“As we went through on the recruitment side last year and talking about Frankie Amaya, Leo Bertone, Mathieu Deplagne and Allan Cruz, Hunter was right along the journey in terms of bringing in guys that we felt could be a part of the core moving forward into the new stadium in 2021,” Sassano said of Freeman.

Freeman will be hoping the success continues entering the 2020 season and beyond.

Since the 2019 campaign ended Oct. 6, Freeman has helped lead efforts to scout players from around the world to represent FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium. In fact, he was recently in Europe with Nijkamp and club president Jeff Berding for a tour of top clubs.

Ultimately, Nijkamp is looking to sign the right players for the Orange and Blue moving forward, but in this new position, it’s Freeman’s task to find which players are worth pursuing.