Eleven days before the start of the new MLS season, FC Cincinnati is without a head coach.
Ron Jans stepped down from his post as the club’s manager Tuesday after less than a year at the helm following accusations, first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, that he used racist language in front of players.
The club announced late last week that the Dutchman Jans was “stepping away” from the team as it investigated the claims. In a statement released Tuesday, FCC president Jeff Berding said that he had accepted Jans’ resignation.
“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.
“We place the utmost importance on a strong culture within our club, beginning in our locker room, and that every person connected with FC Cincinnati feels valued, respected and trusted. Racial and cultural diversity is a major part of what makes the game of soccer so special, and we place the highest priority on respecting every person involved in our game.”
Well-regarded assistant coach Yoann Damet — who led the team last season after Alan Koch was led go early in FCC’s maiden MLS campaign — will once again serve as the club’s interim boss, “while general manager Gerard Nijkamp begins the international search for a new head coach,” the club’s statement read.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) February 18, 2020
According to the original Enquirer report from Feb. 14, league officials received complaints about Jans’ language from the MLS Players Association last Thursday.
When confronted by Berding, Jans said that he uttered the slur while singing along to music played in the locker room, according to the paper. The MLSPA’s complaint also cited inappropriate comments Jans made about about slavery before a match last season.
It’s the second time in three months that a coach in one of the U.S. and Canada’s major professional sports leagues has stepped down after their use of a racist slur in the locker room came to light. In December, Bill Peters quit as coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames after one of his former players revealed that Peters had directed a slur toward him in the minor leagues.
Jans managed Belgian club Standard Liege and several teams in the Netherlands’ top flight before arriving in Ohio. He took over FCC last August but couldn’t prevent the expansion side from finishing last in the 12-team Eastern Conference.
FC Cincinnati opens its new season March 1 away to the New York Red Bulls.
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