Jaap Stam is out as FC Cincinnati's head coach.
FC Cincinnati announced Monday that Stam, along with longtime club assistant coach and two-time interim head coach Yoann Damet, were relieved of their duties. Said Bakkati, who Stam brought on as his assistant, was also let go.
Tyrone Marshall, currently the head coach of FC Cincinnati’s Under-19 squad and forthcoming U-23 team, will serve as interim head coach.
“During our nearly two-month process to identify the next General Manager for FC Cincinnati, it was apparent that a Head Coach change was necessary," FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said in a news release. "Therefore, after a great deal of deliberation, the club has made the decision to now move to the future with Jaap no longer serving as Head Coach.. We believe a change in leadership is in the best interest of the club at this time, and a new General Manager will lead the search for a new Head Coach. We are an ambitious club, and we remain focused on achieving our goals, the first of which is making Cincinnati a championship city. We thank Jaap for everything he has done for FC Cincinnati during his time here, and we wish him the best as he can now head home to be with his family.”
Jack Stern, FC Cincinnati's head of goalkeeping and an assistant hired in 2017, will remain on-staff in his current position.
Stam and Bakkati didn't immediately respond to The Enquirer's Monday requests for comment.
FC Cincinnati's search for a new general manager started Aug. 6 when Gerard Nijkamp was let go after a 3-6-7 start to the 2021 season.
FCC now sits at 4-13-8 – Stam posted an 8-28-12 record as manager of Cincinnati after his hire in May 2020 – and is second-to-last in the MLS Eastern Conference.
The 2021 season has been a disappointment for FC Cincinnati, which built a slightly lopsided, attack-heavy team in terms of roster expenditure and had one of the most expensive rosters in MLS this year.
Stam's tenure saw the club and its supporters enjoy a handful of memorable moments including a couple strong showings against in-state rival Columbus Crew and a shock progression to the knockout rounds of the MLS Is Back Tournament in 2020.
Mostly, Stam's record at FCC was soiled by inconsistent results and under-performance from the club's biggest, highest-paid players.
Through Saturday's 4-2 loss at D.C. United, FC Cincinnati had won once out of its last 16 matches. It took 10 games and nearly four months to close out a victory at the new TQL Stadium in the city West End neighborhood.
Privately, Stam accepted his job might be in jeopardy because of the club's GM search. He acknowledged that was a reality of his profession.
Based on Berding's comments in an exclusive Enquirer interview following Nijkamp's firiing, the head coaching position was Stam's to win or lose based on results.
"We believe in Jaap Stam and we are pleased he’s our head coach," Berding said in the Aug. 7 interview. "The team fights hard for him. I see the preparation. I think he has a good staff and, at the end of the day, this is a results business. You want to run political campaigns? Win elections. You want to coach teams? Win games. The best part about that is it’s in your hands."
Berding's comments came at the outset of the GM search, though, and the landscape likely shifted as those involved in the search within and outside the club conducted it.
As far as protecting his job through results, Stam didn't. FC Cincinnati went 1-6-2 in the nine matches following Nijkamp's departure, and Berding's remarks.
While some have speculated Stam's hire might be foreshadowing a hire for the GM position still vacant as of Monday, it's unclear if that's the case. A club official declined to comment on the club's GM search Monday.
With Stam exiting, it was only natural that most of his technical staff would follow him out the door of the Mercy Health Training Center.
Damet was the longest-serving coach in FC Cincinnati history. He was brought into FC Cincinnati by former head coach Alan Koch, helped oversee the team rise from the second division USL Championship into MLS and twice managed the team on an interim basis.
Damet was in charge for nearly half the 2019 season and oversaw FCC during a head coaching search that resulted in Ron Jans' hiring, producing a 3-12-0 record before Jans arrived.
In 2020, Damet went 0-2-0 as the interim following Jans' firing during preseason and leading into the league's months-long pandemic stoppage.
When MLS emerged from the pandemic shutdown, Stam was in place as head coach.
Bakkati worked with and played under Stam since the 2012-13 Eredivisie season in Holland. The two are friends, and Stam had brought Bakkati on for all of his recent managerial appointments.
Marshall will likely close out the 2021 season as head coach on an interim basis. Nine games remain in the season and FC Cincinnati is well off the pace in the race for a playoff spot.
Marshall, a former Jamaican international who made more than 300 MLS appearances from 1998 through 2012, joined FC Cincinnati’s Academy coaching staff in February from Real Salt Lake, where he had been an assistant coach for the club's MLS side since 2015.
"Tyrone has been a valuable addition to our coaching staff since he arrived earlier this year with plan to be the future coach of our MLS2 team,” Berding said in a news release. “He has shown his coaching ability and leadership qualities, and he is the right person to inject new energy into the locker room and help our squad finish 2021 strong with an eye to the future.”