Stam
@ReadingFC, Twitter

Who is Jaap Stam?

FC Cincinnati announced Jaap Stam as the club’s fourth full-time coach on Thursday afternoon. Once in the country, Stam will lead the team when MLS play resumes in 2020 and FCC move into West End Stadium in 2021.

So, who’s Cincinnati’s new coach?

Stam is a 47-year-old Dutchman who was a world-class defender before transitioning to the sideline. Since then, he’s used a similar playing philosophy to the one FCC began instilling last summer: aggressive, possession-based soccer, youth development and a focus on the team collective over individuals.

Coaching background

  • After a successful playing career, Stam became a Manchester United scout in South America. A stint as PEC Zwolle’s caretaker manager followed that before he joined the Ajax coaching staff.
  • Stam’s first true head coaching role was leading Jong Ajax, the club’s second-division team, from 2014 to 2016. During that time, he coached a core of players – Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Andre Onana – who guided Ajax to the UEFA Champions League semifinals in 2019.
  • After Jong Ajax, Stam went to Reading in the English Championship and brought the club to a penalty shootout away from an English Premier League return. Finishing 17th the year before in 2015-16, Stam’s Reading produced a remarkable campaign the next season that saw the side finish third in the table. Reading eventually fell to  Huddersfield Town in the Play-Off Final, 4-3, in penalties
  • On Dec. 28, 2018, Stam agreed to coach PEC Zwolle and return to his home country. FCC general manager Gerard Nijkamp hired Stam to keep the club in the Eredivisie. At the time, it sat in a relegation playoff spot. Stam guided Zwolle to safety and earned an opportunity to move from PEC Zwolle and coach at Dutch giants Feyenoord Rotterdam entering the 2019-20 campaign.
  • Stam’s time at Feyenoord ended in October, but it was enough to lead the club into the UEFA Europa League group stage. Additionally, Stam focused on developing young players, which primed Orkun Kökcü and Luis Sinisterra for breakthrough seasons.

Photo: Stam at Manchester United. @ManUtd, Twitter

Playing background

  • His legendary playing career started at FC Zwolle. Soon, he earned a move to PSV Eindhoven where he won an Eredivisie title and the KNVB Beker – the Dutch equivalent of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • Next came three seasons at Manchester United, where Stam won six trophies, including three Premier League titles and the 1999 UEFA Champions League trophy. He was named the Champions League’s best defender in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
  • Stam left United for Italy and played for both Lazio and AC Milan. He won the Italian Copa (Italian Open Cup) along the way and became the then most expensive defender in transfer history.
  • His playing career ended with two seasons with Ajax, where he won another KNVB Beker.
  • During this time, the defender made 67 appearances for the Dutch national team and was part of three teams that went to the semifinals in major international tournaments: the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 and 2004 UEFA European Championships.

What he means for FC Cincinnati

  • As the club’s fourth full-time coach, he’ll lead the Orange and Blue when play resumes. While he technically joins two games into the 2020 regular season, his arrival comes as a fresh start. He’s also under contract to become Cincinnati’s first head coach at West End Stadium, which opens next year.
  • Stam is reunited with Nijkamp for a second time. After the duo worked at Zwolle, they’ll now lead Cincinnati moving forward. This is Nijkamp’s second coaching appointment with the club, and Stam’s first time coaching outside of Europe.
  • Many FCC players will be familiar with Stam either from watching him growing up, or through his coaching. Siem de Jong and Stam were together at Ajax for a short time, while Stam coached against Maikel van der Werff last April. (Van der Werff’s side won.)
  • Stam’s appointment further illustrates the club’s embrace of the “Dutch Way” of playing. Now the club’s second Dutch head coach, FCC have three players from the country (de Jong, van der Werff and Jürgen Locadia), an assistant coach (Ivar van Dinteren) and two players who played in Holland: Przemysław Tytoń (PSV) and Haris Medunjanin (AZ Alkmaar). Medunjanin played for Dutch youth national teams while Stam represented the senior squad.
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