CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati announced a key part of its technical structure on Friday, with Larry Sunderland appointed as the club’s first director of player development.
In that role, Sunderland will primarily oversee the development and administration of FC Cincinnati’s youth academy that will begin play during the 2019-20 season. At launch, the academy will house teams in the under-15 and under-16/17 age groups.
The director of player development role will report to the club’s newly announced — though still vacant — general manager position. Sunderland will also manage the club’s relationship with the United Soccer League. That includes identifying potential affiliate and development partnerships.
“I’m thankful to the FC Cincinnati leadership for providing me with the opportunity to become the club’s first director of player development,” Sunderland said in a club statement. “Building on an exciting culture, a philosophy of development and an intentional process of guiding players from the academy to the first team is what really aligned me with FCC from my first conversation.”
Sunderland brings extensive experience to Cincinnati. He spent the past three seasons as the youth technical director for the Portland Timbers and head coach of their under-19 team. Before joining Portland, Sunderland worked for the Chicago Fire as director of player development and then academy director. While in Chicago, he oversaw the launch and build of the country’s first fully integrated professional soccer development model.
“Larry has impeccable credentials and demonstrated success at installing and cultivating both a winning and a successful culture everywhere he’s been,” offered club president Jeff Berding. “He has been on the forefront of developing and refining the player development pyramid in the United States, and we look forward to bringing his expertise to our club.”
In addition to his coaching experience, Sunderland holds a bevy of professional coaching licenses. That includes a USSF “A” License, USSF National “Youth” License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and the KNVB “Youth” Certificate. He also successfully completed the French Football Federation’s Elite Formation Coaches License. He joined USSF National Instructional Staff in 2000 and the NSCAA Associate National Staff in 2002.
A former professional indoor player, Sunderland also recently coached the US under-16 boys youth national team that won the 2019 UEFA Development Tournament in Prague earlier this month.