Jimmy McLaughlin, who numbered more than 100 appearances as an original member of FC Cincinnati’s squad, will don purple next season having signed with Louisville City FC, it was announced Tuesday.
The deal, pending league and federation approval, adds to the roster a 27-year-old forward with years of Major League Soccer service, including time with current LouCity head coach and sporting director John Hackworth at the Philadelphia Union.
“This is an important signing for us,” Hackworth said. “In Jimmy, we have added a dangerous attacking player with a wealth of professional experience. Unfortunately for him, his last two seasons in MLS have been challenging due to injuries. However, we are confident that he is back to 100% from a physical perspective and is super motivated from a mental perspective.
“Our staff knows he is a perfect fit for our locker room as well. We look forward to Jimmy bringing his high energy enthusiasm to everything we do collectively.”
A Malvern, Penn., native, McLaughlin established himself as an FC Cincinnati favorite from the franchise’s start, tallying 12 goals and 11 assists across all competitions since 2016.
Known for his dancing goal celebrations, McLaughlin has a knack for delivering big moments. In July of 2017, he scored in the penalty shootout of a Round of 16 U.S. Open Cup victory over the Chicago Fire. And in October of 2018, he converted another penalty to help down Nashville SC in the USL Championship Playoffs.
All the while, McLaughlin took part in what he recognized as a “great rivalry” with LouCity.
“Everyone on both sides respected each other and realized they were two of the best clubs in the USL,” McLaughlin said. “It didn’t seem like this was going to be a destination for me, but as circumstances change, I want to play for the best team in the league — a team that’s going to compete to win championships for a club that really runs its organization the right way.”
Since continuing with FC Cincinnati into its MLS era, McLaughlin has been slowed by injuries. He sat out the 2019 season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear, then missed the club’s return to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 with a high ankle sprain.
“I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder and a lot to prove,” McLaughlin said. “I’m ready to go. The last few years were just an unfortunate situation, but I’m ready feeling really good. I’ll do whatever I can to help the team, and I’m out to prove that I’m still a very good player.”
McLaughlin came up through the Philadelphia Union’s youth system. He then played one season collegiately for Colgate University — recognized then as the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year — before signing his first professional contract with the Union.
In October of 2012, McLaughlin made his MLS debut when coming on as a substitute for Danny Cruz, who’s now LouCity’s assistant coach and technical director.
“We’ve known Jimmy for quite some time and understand exactly what we are getting both on and off the field,” Cruz said. “Jimmy is a dynamic winger who can play on both sides of the field and loves the challenge of taking players on in the final third.
“He is the type of person who understands the value of a locker room and what it means to be part of such a strong culture. We are looking forward to having Jimmy here and are happy that we were able to get this deal done.”
McLaughlin is the second new addition to LouCity’s roster for the 2021 season. Coincidentally, fellow newcomer Tyler Gibson also hails from a rival midfield, Indy Eleven.
The boys in purple also return a strong core of players from a team that last season compiled the Eastern Conference’s best regular-season record and advanced to the conference final for a sixth straight year.
CURRENT LOUISVILLE CITY FC 2021 ROSTER
Goalkeeper – Chris Hubbard
Defender – Wes Charpie, Jonathan Gomez, Oscar Jimenez, Pat McMahon, Alexis Souahy, Sean Totsch, Akil Watts
Midfielder – Corben Bone, George Davis IV, Tyler Gibson, Paolo DelPiccolo, Napo Matsoso, Niall McCabe, Elijah Wynder
Forward – Antoine Hoppenot, Cameron Lancaster, Jimmy McLaughlin, Brian Ownby, Abdou Thiam