After FC Cincinnati spent nearly two months looking for a new general manager, the process was officially closed on Monday with ex-player and front-office veteran Chris Albright, who was finalized as the club’s next GM.
Albright, 42, of Philadelphia, arrives at FC Cincinnati after serving nearly eight years on the football side of the Philadelphia Union organization, most recently as its technical director. In his new position, Albright will be tasked with overseeing a technical overhaul of FC Cincinnati, and he must quickly find the club’s next head coach.
“Our search for our next general manager has been extensive,” said Jeff Berding, president of FC Cincinnati, in a press release. “Our new GM would be someone who knew what it took to win in Major League Soccer, a non-negotiable experience. To meet that requirement, we are delighted to have found the best person for the job.”
According to the team’s press release, Albright will report to Berding and “oversee all football-related areas, including roster management, budgeting and administration of salary caps, player scouting and acquisition, oversight of coaching staff, sports performance personnel and medical personnel, youth development and academy programs and more.” .”
“It is an honor to be the general manager of FC Cincinnati,” Albright said in the press release. “This is a club with incredible supporters, first-rate facilities and resources, and a thirst for success. I want to thank Carl (H. Lindner III), Meg Whitman and the owner, as well as Jeff and everyone who has trusted me to lead this club to achieve the goals we have set. I am determined to use all my knowledge and experience to make FC Cincinnati a championship club. I look forward to meeting the team, the staff and all the fans, and I can can’t wait to get started.”
Albright will be introduced locally with a press conference on Wednesday at the TQL Stadium scheduled for 12:30pm
While Albright was in the front office at the Union, the club underwent a sort of football renaissance, becoming an annual feature of the MLS Cup playoff picture, and in 2020 won the Supporters Shield, which is awarded to the league’s regular season champion and was the club’s first major trophy.
Philadelphia’s youth ranks also swelled with talent, with several key players in the 2020 squad being sold to European clubs for millions of dollars.
The hope at FC Cincinnati is that Albright will be able to make a similar first-team turnaround after FCC finished last in the MLS in 2019 and 2020, and is again at risk for a last-place finish in 2021.
FC Cincinnati (4-14-8, 20 points) is currently last in the MLS standings with seven games left.
A winner of multiple MLS Cup titles, Albright offers the perspective of both a successful player and front office leader. He will have to use all those skills as the club is currently led on the pitch by an interim coaching staff after now former head coach Jaap Stam was sacked on September 27.
The position of general manager of FC Cincinnati became vacant when Gerard Nijkamp was sacked on August 6, just after the conclusion of the secondary transfer window in MLS.
More:FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding: MLS Experience a Priority in New GM Search
More:Jaap Stam as head coach of FC Cincinnati. Tyrone Marshall named interim head coach.
Following Nijkamp’s departure, team chairman Jeff Berding told The Enquirer in an exclusive interview that MLS experience would be a priority when looking for a GM.
“We have a much better understanding of the league now than we did two years ago,” Berding said in an interview with Enquirer on Aug. 7. “I’m in the league now. Again, I would offer that if we had been given the same amount of time as other franchises, we probably would have understood the league a lot better before making some key hires, but we understand now. We understand the value of experience. We understand that there is data available to evaluate people. Cost per win, transfer record, tenure and how tenure aligns with winning, payroll size, workforce size, workforce experience – all things which we didn’t have when we transitioned as a record-setting USL team to a quick transition to the MLS team.”
Some of the points Berding touched on — cost per win, success in the transfer market — were just some of the notable strengths for the Union as Albright teamed up there with sporting director Ernst Tanner, head coach Jim Curtin and assistant technical director Kyle McCarthy, among others. .
Albright enjoyed an award-winning career as a player, including inclusion in the U.S. national team’s final roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
In addition to his MLS Cups, Albright was a three-time MLS All-Star and also won the US Open Cup and the now-defunct North American SuperLiga, which was a precursor to multiple MLS-versus-Liga MX competitions in existence today.