Exclusive: Our Interview With FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch

When you see Alan Koch on the field, you can tell that he's a true professional. We here at Bailey Banter recognized that and wanted to get a look into what makes him tick, and how he made his way all the way from South Africa to Ohio.

I was lucky enough to receive a response when I reached out to Coach Koch via Twitter. He agreed to a Q&A through e-mail. Below are his responses:

How did you get into soccer originally? Did you have family members that played, or did you just happen to try it and love it?

"My Dad played and I was hooked the first game I went to watch him play. Well maybe not the first game, as I probably don’t remember that one. I loved his passion for the game and it rubbed off on me at a very young age."

When it comes to your style of coaching, were there any particular coaches or teams that you looked up to when you were younger that inspired you?
"My blood is German, so I have always admired the discipline and tactical awareness of German teams over the years. I grew up in Africa and have an appreciation for the physicality and flare of the African game too. I think I have tried to merge both of those into my philosophy."
What has it been like leading this team and seeing how much they’ve grown over just two seasons? How does FCC compare to your other coaching experiences?
"The beauty of working here is that you get to grow the team as the club grows simultaneously. It is important for all the different departments of the club to work together as we grow something special. This is very different to working at a club that has been around for decades."

What has it been like for you and the players to face such big opponents in the Open Cup and come out on top? Is there anything at all that you would change about the way you’ve played?

"In this business, you always want to be challenged. I feel like our players and staff thrive on big challenges. What would I change (if I could), the number of games that we have had to play in a short amount of time. The fixture congestion has certainly posed some challenges."

What are your goals for the team going forward, and what do you think needs to change as we move on in the season and in the Open Cup?

"We have a plan and a vision for our team and we are heading in the right direction. It takes time to fully implement a system, style, and vision and we will continue to work hard until we achieve our goals. The Open Cup run has been magical and long may it continue. We are going to fight to get into the USL playoffs and when you get there anything can happen in a single elimination playoff structure."

I think it’s safe to say that many fans are wondering what was going through your mind during the recent game against Rochester. How did you manage to stay so calm, and how did you motivate the players to do the same during what could have turned into a very heated match?
"I was incredibly frustrated, but there is no point in me losing my mind. I need to stay calm so that I can make rational decisions in the heat of the battle. That was one of the most bizarre matches that I have ever been a part of and I was disappointed for everyone that had to witness that."
Now that the team is making itself known at a national level, how do you feel about the possibility of becoming an MLS team?
"This club and city in many ways is already an MLS city. What we have in Cincinnati is truly a gem and something everyone should be very proud of. The MLS needs more markets like ours."
What do you like the most about Cincinnati, apart from soccer?
"The diverse neighborhoods. I love the geographical landscape of the city, the genuineness of the people and the opportunities to try different restaurants around town."
What are some of your interests outside of soccer?
"During the season I don’t really get to spend too much time away from the job. We are fully engrossed in it and work hard every day to get better. However, I do like going to try different restaurants in the city. In the off-season, you will find me on a beach. I grew up in the sun and on the beach so other than being in a soccer stadium it is my happy place"
What is something interesting about you that most people might not know?
"I have been fortunate enough to live and work in this beautiful game in 6 countries"

I'd like to thank Alan Koch once more for agreeing to this interview. 

I very much enjoyed getting to know him a bit more, and all of us at Bailey Banter hope that you did too. One of my personal goals, as well as the goal of this blog as a whole, is to connect people to the team. Getting to know players and coaches through interviews is one of the best ways we can do that. We certainly hope to do more in the future!


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