Position: Defender – Center Back
From: Cincinnati, OH (domestic player)
Former team: Toronto FC
Deal: Traded to FC Cincinnati for $150K in GAM in 2019, $100K in TAM in 2020, and the #1 allocation ranking. FCC also receives the No. 24 allocation ranking from Toronto FC. Additional terms apply if the #1 allocation ranking or Hagglund are traded thereafter.
Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund makes his way back to the Queen City from Toronto FC in a move that had been speculated about since FC Cincinnati’s MLS reality was confirmed.
Hagglund grew up in West Chester and featured for Cincinnati United Premier (CUP) and Lakota West during his youth career. The Xavier University standout was drafted 10th overall by Toronto FC in 2014 and has been with that club until now. He is a five-year MLS league veteran with 88 league appearances to his name.
Followers of Cincinnati soccer that don’t know Hagglund from CUP, Lakota West, Xavier, or Toronto FC might remember him from 2016. Hagglund played 90 minutes for TFCII when that they first met FC Cincinnati in USL play. Omar Cummings scored a late winner in that match to send FC Cincinnati home with three points.
It’s worth noting that the price FC Cincinnati paid for Hagglund has been questioned by some national soccer pundits. $250K in allocation money and the #1 allocation spot is a hefty fee. However, the hometown defender comes with benefits that made Sassano, Koch, and Berding believe he was worth the price. Time will tell whether it was a wise investment.
Three Things Nick Hagglund Brings to FC Cincinnati
This is the obvious one. Hagglund is one of our own and because of that, no one needs to explain to him how to order Cincinnati chili. He understands “Eastside” versus “Westside”, and he expects people that he hasn’t met before to ask him which high school he went to.
FC Cincinnati fans have witnessed the departure of several Cincinnati and Ohio products that graced the roster in seasons past. Austin Berry, Matt Bahner, Luke Spencer, Michael Millay, Eric Stevenson, and Kenney Walker all gave FCC a distinctly local flair during its formative years. Even adopted sons like UC alum Omar Cummings helped forged a bond between the fans and the club.
The current roster has quite a different look, and that’s to be expected with a move to MLS. However, it’s a big coup for the front office to acquire a capable local product for FC Cincinnati’s first season in the highest level of American soccer.
While he has not been a guaranteed starter in Toronto, Hagglund can boast 67 career MLS starts and 10 additional appearances in MLS Cup playoff matches. He made an impressive 23 starts as a rookie for TFC, but has shared time in the starting eleven in recent years.
Regardless, his time in the league adds some needed “know-how” to the central defense. Kendall Waston is obviously loaded with experience, but behind him, positional center backs Forrest Lasso and Hassan Ndam only have a combined 2 MLS appearances between them. Some speculate that experienced fullback Mathieu Deplagne may also play a role at center back, but that remains to be seen.
Hagglund’s experience includes some big MLS moments as well. In one of his finest memories north of the border, he headed home this dramatic playoff goal that helped Toronto FC advance to the 2016 MLS Cup final.
Jeff Berding has said on multiple occasions during this MLS roster build that FC Cincinnati is looking to bring “winners” into the team. Hagglund can certainly claim to be one. He won the Eastern Conference Championship with Toronto FC in both 2016 and
“I think it’s amazing to have a guy from Cincinnati who’s gone and had success in this league-Alan Koch
. To bring him home is something that we should all take pride in. He gets an amazing opportunity in that he’s gone and had success in the league”
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.