CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - John Harkes has been relieved of his duties at FC Cincinnati and will be replaced as head coach by Alan Koch, former Vancouver Whitecaps 2 manager.
FCC President and General Manager Jeff Berding provided the following statement:
"After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the FC Cincinnati organization, I have decided to relieve John Harkes of his duties as FCC head coach, effective immediately.
We wish John all the best and thank him for his efforts in our inaugural year. We believe we have an exciting team and look forward to a special season with our fans at Nippert Stadium.
Alan Koch is a respected and experienced leader, who takes over head coaching duties and will continue preparing the team for the season that begins with tomorrow's trip to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He led Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 to a Western Conference final with a very young team. Prior to that, he coached Simon Fraser University to four Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships, two Division II regional titles and to two NCAA Division II Final Four appearances.
Alan leads by example, is a strong communicator and has established very clear expectations for himself and the players. We feel his disciplined approach will be key for a successful season.
The ownership group continues to be committed to bringing top-level soccer to Cincinnati. The 2017 season presents a very unique opportunity for FCC to affect and, to a degree, determine our future and we feel this change gives us a technical staff that is in alignment with our vision for the franchise.
Coaching changes are not uncommon in the sporting world and many of them are difficult. Timing is also a consideration and we made this decision to give our new head coach time to prepare with the team for the upcoming season. I want to express my appreciation to our owners, players and staff for their support of this decision and handling a challenging situation with professionalism."
John Harkes, a veteran of Major League Soccer and the U.S. National Team, was the team's first head coach.
Harkes led the team to finish in third place in USL last year.