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Coaching Staff

USL League Two Coaching Staff

Head Coach - Paul Nicholson (

Coach Nicholson was named Head Coach in December 2017. One of the first 11 signings, Coach Nicholson played central defender for FC Cincinnati for the 2016 and 2017 USL seasons playing in 37 matches. Before his time in the Queen City, Nicholson played for the Wilmington Hammerheads for five seasons in the USL. In his professional career, Nicholson had 153 appearances, scored seven goals, became the fourth player in USL history to log 10,000 minutes played, and is in the top ten in games played.

As an amateur player in England, Nicholson played for Carlisle United FC until 16 years old then to Morecambe FC in Lancashire until 18 years old. Nicholson then made his move to Rio Grande where he led the Red Storm to four consecutive conference championships and four NAIA national tournament appearances. To cap off his playing career, Nicholson was a First Team NAIA All-American, finished NAIA National Runner-up, and was the NAIA Most Valuable Defensive Player. Due to the successful senior year, Nicholson was the only NAIA player invited to the MLS Player Combine in 2009. In 2016, the University of Rio Grande inducted Nicholson into the Hall of Fame. Nicholson has two years playing experience in USL2 with West Virginia Chaos and GPS Portland Phoenix where he played in 30 games and scored two goals.

Since his move to Cincinnati, Nicholson has been a club coach, Director of Camps, and Director of Coaching (Kings Hammer). While playing for the Hammerheads, Nicholson was also coaching in the Wilmington Hammerheads youth soccer club. A graduate of University of Rio Grande, Nicholson got his coaching start as an assistant at his alma mater for two seasons where Rio Grande were NAIA national tournament semifinalists.

Assistant Coach - Terry Nicholl (

Coach Nicholl, born in Wilmslow, England, has been on the coaching staff with the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC since the club formed in 2013. Nicholl played over 400 professional games in England (Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield United, Southend United and Gillingham) and the United States (Wichita Wings & Memphis Storm) before he started coaching in 1986.

During his 30 years of coaching Coach Nicholl has won 11 Ohio South State Cups, 4 MRL premier and three National League Championships.

During the 2015 PDL (now USL2) season, Coach Nicholl lead the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC to their first ever playoff appearance with direct qualification for the US Open Cup.

Coach Nicholl holds a “A” Full badge coaching license which he earned with the Union of European Football Association.

Assistant & Goalkeeper Coach - Brandon Ponchak (

Coach Ponchak, born in Ohio, joined the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC’s coaching staff for the 2017 season. Being a former college coach (four years as Head Coach at Sterling College and two years as Assistant Coach at Bluffton University and Dakota Wesleyan University ) Coach Ponchak brings a wealth of knowledge of the American college and amateur game.

Coach Ponchak played at Morgan High School in McConnelsville, Ohio followed by a collegiate career at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Coach Ponchak possesses a USSF National D coaching license and several GK coaching licenses, including the Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma and will mainly be responsible of all goalkeeper training during the season.

Assistant Coach - Jack Hermans

Coach Hermans, born in the Netherlands, is the former Head Coach of Xavier University and was an assistant coach for the Dayton Dutch Lions FC USL PRO team for five years.

Coach Hermans, a former professional player, holds the USSF A license and the Dutch full badge. Coach Hermans is also a proud member of the Ohio Soccer Hall of Fame.

Coach Hermans will play a very important role in the technical development of the players.

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