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Sports

FC Cincinnati hires Pat Noonan as head coach

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FC Cincinnati (screenshot from Dec. 14, 2021 press conference)
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FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding (far left), Controlling Owner Carl Lindner III (center left), pose with new Head Coach Pat Noonan (center right) and recently hired General Manager Chris Albright (far right) during a news conference on Dec. 14, 2021.

Pat Noonan has signed a multi-year deal to become the new head coach of FC Cincinnati. He's the sixth head coach FC Cincinnati has hired during its Major League Soccer tenure.

Prior to being hired Wednesday, Noonan was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Union from 2018 to 2021. Before accepting the position, Noonan says he was amazed by the city's passionate fan base when the Union played FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium last season and while watching the World Cup qualifying match.

"Watching the U.S. beat Mexico last month, it solidified the idea that we can make this the most difficult place to play in Major League Soccer," Noonan said. "I'm excited to get to know our loyal supporters, be active in the community and get started to getting the product on the field better."

After his retirement as a player in 2013, he joined LA Galaxy’s coaching staff and served as an assistant to Head Coach Bruce Arena, who's won five MLS Cups and four Supporters Shields during his coaching career.

"He did that in such a professional and successful way that it allowed me to learn very quickly what a successful professional environment looked like," Noonan said of his time serving under Arena.

During his playing career, Noonan won two MLS Cups (Columbus Crew in 2008, LA Galaxy in 2012), two Supporters Shields (Columbus Crew in 2008 and 2009) and won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup three times (2007 with New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders FC in 2010 and 2011). Internationally, Noonan earned 15 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, scoring one goal and winning the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

As an assistant coach, Noonan won a Supporters Shield with the Philadelphia Union in 2020 and an MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy in 2014.

Noonan will be reuniting with current FC Cincinnati general manager, Chris Albright, who previously served as technical director with the Philadelphia Union. Albright says Noonan was the best choice for the position, noting he's consistently been a winner within the league.

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FC Cincinnati (screenshot from Dec. 14, 2021 press conference)
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New Head Coach Pat Noonan (left) and GM Chris Albright previously worked together during their tenures with the Philadelphia Union.

"My expectations for Pat is he's going to continue to work like he's worked in the past and if I do the right things around him and help manage the building and help him manage the players, then like I said, we're not going to set clear goals but we will try to be better every day," Albright said.

Noonan says he and Albright are aligned on how they see the game.

"Chris has been working for months now to quickly identify the priorities necessary to turn this thing around and I'm confident my presence in the building will help with that process," Noonan said. "I look forward to meeting the team, the staff, the fans, and I'm excited to get to work."

In August, FC Cincinnati fired GM Gerard Njikamp followed by Head Coach Jaap Stam in September. In 2020, Head Coach Ron Jans resigned as he was being investigated by Major League Soccer about his alleged use of inappropriate language and racial slurs.

For the past three seasons, FC Cincinnati has finished at the bottom of Major League Soccer, winning back-to-back Independent Supporters Council Wooden Spoons. FC Cincinnati will begin the 2022 season on Feb. 26 against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium in Texas.

This story has been updated.