The Cincinnati Dutch Lions have made changes to the top of their organizational structure ahead of their fourth season in the Premier Development League. Local businessmen Hans Philippo and Robert Rack have joined the ownership group. Sid van Druenen has been named as the club’s technical director.
Philippo, owner of Holland Roofing Inc. and other companies, is the new majority stakeholder in the Cincinnati Dutch Lions. Rack will serve as the President of Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC, LLC.
Mike Mossel and Dr. Suresh Gupta of the Dutch Lions Capital Group will maintain stakes in the club as minority owners.
Van Druenen’s appointment as technical director follows multiple stints with the Dayton Dutch Lions, where he led WLeague, PDL, and USL teams as head coach. Van Druenen holds a UEFA B coaching license.
The announcement of the organizational changes comes as a surprise to many soccer fans in the Cincinnati area, who were not aware that the Dutch Lions still operated a team in the area. The Cincinnati Dutch Lions are a part of a long list of amateur and professional soccer teams in Cincinnati that have struggled to find commercial success.
The USL’s FC Cincinnati, in which Mossel is also a minority owner, has demonstrated that Cincinnati is a viable soccer market. The problem for the Cincinnati Dutch Lions is that they now have to operate in the shadows of a professional team that has completely dominated the market space. The NPSL’s Cincinnati Saints moved operations to Dayton in anticipation of such a problem.
The future success of the Cincinnati Dutch Lions depends on the club’s goals for itself. If the new ownership group hopes to reap a large return on investment, it might be disappointed. If the goal is to effectively participate in the development of young players, the future could be bright.
The Cincinnati version of the Dutch Lions has already proven an ability to help produce professional talent. Two examples are Jake Stovall and Kyle Smith. Stovall, who played center back for the Dutch Lions over three seasons, was recently selected by the Seattle Sounders in the third round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Smith just completed a successful pro rookie season with Louisville City FC in the USL.