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With Leandro Bertone, FC Cincinnati adds player with European experience

Confetti flies as the new team crest is unveiled during an event to unveil FC Cincinnati's new MLS branding at the Woodward Theater in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

FC Cincinnati announced its latest roster addition Tuesday, bringing in a defensive midfielder with UEFA Champions League experience.

The Major League Soccer expansion side acquired Leonardo Bertone after completing a transfer with Switzerland’s BSC Young Boys. Bertone was signed using Targeted Allocation Money and will occupy one of Cincinnati’s international roster spots. His addition brings Cincinnati’s inaugural roster to 19 players.

“I’m really, really excited. From the first moment when I heard about this project, I had a good feeling and said ‘I want to do this,’” Bertone said in a statement from FC Cincinnati. “For me, it was really important that I saw (FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch) in Switzerland. That’s a sign that he wanted me. It was the first time that a coach came to Switzerland for me.”

Bertone, 24, is a native of Switzerland and began playing with BSC Young Boys as a youth academy player. He made his first appearance with their senior team when he was 17 years old in the 2011-12 season.

In all, Bertone has made 179 career appearances, including 130 starts, across all competitions with Young Boys. In that time, he has tallied 18 goals and 11 assists, while typically playing as a holding or box-to-box midfielder.

From 2012 to 2014, he and current MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez both played for Young Boys.

“We are excited to add Leo to our roster,” Koch said. “He’s a skillful player and we believe he is a great fit for our style of play. He comes from a culture of success with Young Boys and we believe he’ll be an important part of our foundation as we instill a winning mentality within our group.”

This past season, Bertone helped BSC Young Boys capture the Swiss Super League Championship. He started in 15 matches in 2017-18, notching three goals and two assists. He played his last game with Young Boys on Dec. 12, seeing 10 minutes in their 2-1 victory over Juventus in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Bertone is the second player FC Cincinnati has signed who has UEFA Champions League experience, joining Polish goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń, who played in the competition with PSV.

Born in Wohlen bei Bern, Switzerland, Bertone has appeared for his native country’s national team at the U-18, 19, 20 and 21 levels.




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