Inside Preseason: Everybody Loves Haris Medunjanin.

Updated: Apr 3






It’s true, everybody loves Haris Medunjanin. Since his signing last season, Haris has been a steadfast leader for FC Cincinnati on and off the pitch. As a player with years of experience in MLS, he has helped his teammates acclimate to life in America and in a new league.


Last year Haris started 19 of the club’s 21 games, but as he approaches the twilight of his career (Now 36 years old) his role in the club appears to be changing. The additions of fellow midfielders like Mokotjo, Scott, and Acosta most likely signify that his playing time will reduce. That being said, there have been no reports that the club is moving on from him. Jaap Stam seems to appreciate his willingness to help his teammates and his team first attitude. I’m sure Stam also appreciates his free kick ability as displayed here:



Medunjanin sat with members of the media today to give his insight on the club and how things are progressing this offseason.


On how the club has been able to integrate and build chemistry with all the new signings this preseason.


“The preseason is always good for getting the chemistry to come along.”


”Everyone is doing their best. It’s a new opportunity for everyone to show their talents to the coach and to fight for their spot. The preseason is always good for getting the chemistry to come along. We have some new players here, and it takes time, but we have a few weeks and three more games to get ready for the first match.”



On the importance of having preseason games to prepare for the regular season.


”Of course, every game is important so the coaches can see what they can expect from everyone. When you have some new players, they need to adapt to their new system or a new league. So it’s good for them to play these matches against other MLS opponents. From there you will learn. Tomorrow is a good test for us against a good team (Minnesota United). Hopefully we will leave with a good feeling.”



On what a preseason under Manager Jaap Stam is like and how he is feeling physically so far.


“If I’m going to be in the first 11 or not, it doesn’t matter. I can help the team.”

Haris spoke about “Directer of Sport Performance“ Gary Walker’s implementation of fitness tracking wrist bands that help him keep track of the player’s fitness levels as they returned to their homes all over the world.


“Gary is able to tell you if you need to push or not, he can call you and ask how your body feels and look at the data.”


“I’m not 100 percent yet. It takes time when you don’t play for so long, to get physically ready. At my age right now, it takes even more time, but it’s important to get fit and then hopefully I can help the team.“


“If I’m going to be in the first 11 or not, it doesn’t matter. I can help the team.”



On his impression of the new signings the club has brought in.


“A lot of players come to MLS and they think it’s going to be easy or they don’t take it seriously. You can be a superstar or not, but if you don‘t do your best or give 100% it‘s going to be tough for you.”

”Of course new players came. Everybody knows Lucho (Acosta), I played against him for years. Everyone knows he‘s a good player and what he can bring. With Brenner, he is new to the league so he needs to adapt to it. A lot of players come to MLS and they think it’s going to be easy or they don’t take it seriously. You can be a superstar or not, but if you don‘t do your best or give 100% it‘s going to be tough for you. Brenner has a good mentality, he shows himself in training, he’s working hard. Hopefully he can help us score goals and win games.“



On how he feels about his position and standing in the club right now.


“Well you know, the coach knows me, he knows what I bring for this team. I know what I can bring to this team. But when you get older you can’t play every game. Last year I played almost every game. We have a lot of players that can play, so whatever the coach decides what my position is with the team. I will do my best to help the team.”


“At this point, I can‘t be like “I NEED TO PLAY!” you know? For me, I may have one or two years left in my career. So for me, i can help the young guys to see how the league is, how they need to play, how they need to train. Thats my role, but if the coach needs me to play in the first eleven i will do it either way.”



On if he’d like to continue to be a part of the team even after his playing days are over, as in a coaching role.


“I always said that I wanted to work with the young guys and help them to grow.”

”You never know how the soccer world works. If they give you the possibility to be part of the team, why not? I always said that I wanted to work with the young guys and help them to grow. When you play for so long, you can teach them something, be helpful to them. So it’s good to always be open to new things in your life, because when your career ends it‘s always difficult to find something. If it’s here or somewhere else, it’s good to talk about it. To help with the team, or with the youth, I’m always open to speak with them.”



On if this new squad should be more dangerous on offense.


“It’s hard to say. For example, last year wIth Locadia, he was a top striker in Europe who scored a lot of goals. This year you have Brenner who‘s scored goals, but he’s younger than Locadia. He also has a lot of pressure right now. He’s a striker that was bought for a lot of money, so he feels that pressure that he needs to be on point this season. Then you have Lucho who’s already proven in MLS that he is a good No. 10, that he can score goals. Last year we had Siem De Jong, also a good No. 10. But like I said, it’s never promised that when you bring someone in that it will work 100 percent.”


“Last year we created a lot of chances but we didn’t score. I hope that this year they go in.”

“Last year we created a lot of chances but we didn’t score. I hope that this year they go in. Hopefully this year we can score with these guys, keep the lead, get the other team nervous and then score the second and third goal. This is what we need to work on together, and hopefully it will be a much better season than last year.”


It’s no doubt that the club is happy to have a player like Haris on the team. His role on the pitch may be diminishing, and his playing career may be coming to an end, but he still has a lot to offer. Perhaps, off the pitch more than on it.



By: Rob Burkhardt

Twitter: @burkhardt_rob


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