When Ben Mines received word that Cincinnati FC had an interest in him a few days before the December 16 draft Major League Soccer waiver draft, his only reaction was excitement.
Mines, 20, a native product of the New York Red Bulls Organization, was selected in the design by FC Cincinnati and later signed by the team.
The FCC made a largely positive impression on Mines due to high profile run-ins on the field at FC Cincinnati over a period of years. Excitement was only natural when he had the opportunity to join a club he faced in both the lower division and the MLS.
“My agent told me they were interested in picking me up and obviously I was very excited to have known Cincinnati for a long time,” Mines told The Enquirer on Tuesday. “I played in the USL for a while so I knew what the club was about and how important it was in town. I was just excited to be interested in a team that was important to the community. When I was I was really excited. “
Mines missed Cincinnati FC in the 2018 second division season with a broken collarbone, but he was still studying his opponents and watching the games closely. In October of that year, he was admittedly stunned when his Red Bulls II team-mates left Cincinnati FC out of the running the semi-finals of the playoffs of the Eastern Conference.
“I saw the game and the atmosphere was crazy, but then my team at the time squealed the win,” said Mines. “I was shocked and it looked like the fans were too, so I felt really bad.”
Mines had fond memories of the loud crowd at FC Cincinnati and was once again in close proximity to orange and blue in 2020 when the Red Bulls faced the FCC three times in the regular season shortened by the pandemic.
On July 22nd, Mines played in the second of these three games, playing 26 minutes in a match that would determine which team would emerge from Group E at the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando. FC Cincinnati won 2-0.
When the FCC defeated New York On September 19, Mines did not participate but watched carefully from the sidelines as a more open and offensive FC Cincinnati dispatched the high-pressure Red Bulls.
Mines couldn’t help but notice what he called the tactical advance that Cincinnati FC had shown last summer.
“From what I’ve seen we really haven’t given up much and the Red Bulls themselves are an urgent team and Cincinnati has gotten out more than once or twice, which is not entirely normal with a team as aggressive as the Red Bulls . ” “Mines said.” There were a couple of chances to beg Cincy and (Haris) Medunjanin did something ridiculous… I was impressed. Cincy just didn’t give up much. As a player who wants to score goals and as a team who wants to score goals, this is frustrating. ”
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The acquisition of Mines helps increase the number of young players in the FCC, as well as that of other MLS organizations like 20-year-old defender Zico Bailey.
Like Bailey and 20-year-old Alvaro Barreal and Frankie Amaya, Gerard Nijkamp, General Manager of FC Cincinnati, sees development potential in Mines that could benefit the club across the board.
“I spoke to Jaap Stam the first time I signed and he gave me an idea of the direction the club wanted to go,” said Mines. “I think I fit into this form pretty well. You know, I think the really important thing is to pass the ball and not just play on it, but work hard both ways. Runs after the defenders and just does that Life hard.” This is important for wingers and only for attackers in general. We work back when we lose the ball to make sure we don’t give in … I love to play wide. Crosses in, service in and goals scored. “
Some have set mines for a depth role, but as the respective cases of Bailey, Barreal and Amaya have shown to varying degrees, there is every chance that mines will get a chance to showcase themselves.
He’s used to being good at big moments, albeit with a small sample size in MLS. Mines has six MLS games and two goals, including one in 2020 in a replacement game against Inter Miami CF on September 23.
Mines first watched FC Cincinnati in the USL as a 17-year-old member of the Red Bulls. Now, having matured over the past few years, he hopes to continue growing up in Cincinnati.
“It’s good to be in an environment where young players are allowed to make mistakes and grow,” said Mines, “and that’s the kind of feeling I get. Of course there is pressure to win, but you almost want to have the network underneath. ” You that it’s okay to make mistakes … it’s good to be in such an environment. ”