No one will ever confuse the 1998-99 Manchester United FC squad that Jaap Stam starred in with the 2020 FC Cincinnati squad he now coaches.
But with Stam as the common thread shared by that famed Manchester United and FCC team, he is applying the lessons learned from the hectic 1998-99 season to his current position.
FC Cincinnati is vying for only one trophy at the moment – MLS Cup – but the truncated and compact 2020 season that has been interrupted for months by the new coronavirus pandemic has created a busy schedule for FC Cincinnati.
This is where Stam’s knowledge from his United days applies because the current match streak should tax the FC Cincinnati roster.
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Stam has been there before, most notably as a player with the United squad who won three separate games in 1998-99 – a result called a “treble”.
Stam also learned from Sir Alex Ferguson, considered one of the all-time great coaches in the history of the game.
“You have to understand, when we played, the roster contains 20 players at the time we played and of those 20 there were, like, two youngsters,” Stam said during a Sunday video conference. “So many of the players who played that season played in 62 or 63 games, perhaps, in all competitions. (Sir Alex) Ferguson, the manager, hasn’t changed much. He has replaced some players from time to time. or given some players a rest period but throughout the season he remained loyal to his team and that is a fact too. There is always, because people think a lot that with many games it is necessary to rotate the team every time but sometimes It is not so .
“You’re building a team that looks at the players but looks at the physicality of the good players. Some players who play that you’re bringing in are able to play 50 games a season and get that structure in your roster in the club as well. Normally, you want to play different options. The difference is that, at the time I was playing, the approach of the league, the teams, the team building, is it money that can be spent? The players who were free transfer were not very willing to carry in the clubs. So, the manager also had to be inventive and the club also had to be inventive to engage certain players, so in the end you have a solid roster with players you are thinking about, “OK, these players have to do that.” Hopefully you can do it.
“In building a team, it’s always about having a game system, being consistent, having quality. A very important aspect for this is that if you want to win trophies, if you want to achieve results, it is having the right mentality, a determination like sports. If you look at the best teams playing football … all people, they know what it is. They know what they need to do. They know when they need to rest and how to do it they prepare. They know they have to work hard and show their skill in games and also work together. If you do that, and you have the quality within the team and everyone is willing to do it, you start to win games and trust grows In the end, you can go all the way and, as we did us, win the highs. ”
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That Manchester United team was arguably one of the best ever assembled and won the English Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
Stam, who retired from the game in 2008 and held several prominent managerial positions in his young coaching career, had a prominent place on that world-renowned team.
In the current phase of the Major League Soccer 2020 regular season reboot, FC Cincinnati are playing around twice as many games as they normally could during the period from Friday to September 12.
The two successive phases of the restart, if they were to be successfully completed by the League, seem to be equally full of games.
Three of the first four games for the FCC are at home, and after an encouraging draw against DC United on Friday, Cincinnati is hoping to make good use of frequent matches and potentially load into post-season contention.