FC Cincinnati is naming a Dutch football executive as its new general manager. The team selected Gerard Nijkamp (pronounced NIE-camp) to run its soccer operations.
The 49-year-old was introduced at a news conference Thursday morning.
"I will put all my knowledge, experience and skills into building a successful club for this wonderful city," he said. "I'm looking forward to working together with our staff here at FC Cincinnati to create something special for the amazing fans here in Cincinnati."
Most recently he served as technical director for Eredivisie (the top Dutch league) club PEC Zwolle. In Cincinnati, he'll be responsible for everything soccer related, "including: roster management; roster budget and salary cap administration; player acquisition and scouting; sporting data analysis; overseeing the first-team coaching staff, sports performance and medical staffs; and the youth development programs," the team says in a statement.
Nijkamp laid out his first three priorities, starting with finding a new head coach and getting an understanding of the scouting process. "I will bring my expertise of how we did it at PEC Zwolle. I'm also data-driven so I think we need guidance from that and statistics to find the good players [that fit] the profile we are looking for. And three, and maybe the most important, the youth academy."
As for his philosophy, Nijkamp says he like to build play from the back (meaning starting with defensive players) to the attacking front. His objective is winning games and wants to see extremely fit players who have a lot of energy.
Nijkamp will be integral in helping FC Cincinnati find a new head coach. He'll report to Jeff Berding, who's title was recently changed to president alone, creating a second position of general manager.
He says he's happy to be in Cincinnati. "I will put all of my knowledge, experience and skills into building a successful club for this wonderful city. I’m looking forward to working together with our staff here to create something special for the amazing fans in Cincinnati."
Gerard Nijkamp's Biography From FC Cincinnati
Nijkamp arrives in Cincinnati after seven seasons at PEC Zwolle, having re-joined the club in 2012 after its promotion to the Eredivisie following an eight-year stint in the second division.
While in Zwolle, Nijkamp guided the club to a semifinal showing in the KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup) his first year, before winning it outright in his second season in 2013-14 and gaining a 2014-15 UEFA Europa League berth. That season they also won the 2014 Johan Cruyff Cup (Dutch Super Cup). While achieving PEC Zwolle’s best-ever Eredivisie finish (sixth) in 2014-15, the club also earned a berth in the Dutch Cup final. The club earned finishes in the top half of the Eredivisie table in 2015-16 (eighth) and 2017-18 (ninth).
Nijkamp began his playing career in the Be Quick’28 youth system before joining SV Zwolle for one season in 1988. He went back to Be Quick’28 for six years before a two-year stay with CSV’28 that ended in 1997.
While winding down his playing career, Nijkamp got into coaching, starting with the KNVB Academy U12 group in 1994. When his playing career ended, he joined FC Zwolle as the club’s Academy Director where he also served as the U19 head coach, youth assistant coach and interim first-team head coach during his stay. While with FC Zwolle’s academy, Nijkamp also served on the Netherlands’ U21 National Team coaching staff from 2005 through 2007.
Following the stint with FC Zwolle’s academy, Nijkamp moved to Qatar where he served as Academy Director for both Al Ahli (2007-09) and Al Rayan (2009-11). After his time in the Middle East, he spent the 2011-12 season leading KNVB coaching education programming before he returned to PEC Zwolle as Technical Director.
Nijkamp holds the UEFA A License and UEFA A Youth License, as well as KNVB A, B and C coaching certifications. He is also fluent in Dutch, English and German.