Nick Hagglund signs contract to remain at FC Cincinnati

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Nick Hagglund is set to continue his playing career with FC Cincinnati.

Hagglund, a 29-year-old Lakota West and Xavier University product, signed a new two-year contract to stay with FC Cincinnati through 2023, the team announced Friday.

The deal includes in it a club ambassadorship role that will see Hagglund "further his and FCC’s work in the Cincinnati community and continue to connect the club with the city," the team said in a news release.

After his free-agency stint this offseason started out with relative quiet, Hagglund said he was relieved to put the process behind him and remain at FCC, which was his preference all along even as multiple teams reached out regarding his services.

"I'm a believer in myself and I always swing for the fences," Hagglund said Friday. "I feel like you haven't seen the best version of Nick Hagglund yet here at FC Cincinnati and I'm looking to find that form for myself this year."

Hagglund joined FC Cincinnati as a big-money acquisition prior to the 2019 season. His two-year deal follows FC Cincinnati exercising a one-year contract option for the 2020 season and extending a one-year deal to Hagglund for 2021.

During the 2021 season, Hagglund started in 17 of his 24 appearances, playing multiple positions along the back line.

Hagglund would seem to be a likely candidate to come off the bench for FCC, but he's approaching the forthcoming preseason as a chance to win a starting job.

"Ultimately, they see me in the center back group. I sat down with (head coach) Pat Noonan for an hour and a half at a Madeira Starbucks," Hagglund said. "He said 'we have three center backs' at the time. 'We want you to be a part of it and, you know, whoever's doing the business at the time is the guy that's gonna be doing the business.' Ultimately, it's an open competition to win the spot. Will I have first dibs at it? Maybe, maybe not, but ultimately I'm gonna have an opportunity to show myself."

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By the end of his new contract, Hagglund will likely have played 10 seasons in MLS. He started his professional career with Toronto FC in 2014. He played five seasons for Toronto, won an MLS Cup championship in 2017 and made 88 of his 145 career appearances with the "Reds."

Hagglund played in two MLS Cup finals with Toronto, starting in the 2016 match that Seattle Sounders won on penalties. He would enter Toronto's victorious 2017 final in the closing minutes as a substitute.

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Hagglund has logged 10,490 career minutes, according to MLS, and has seven career goals to go with four career assists.

Hagglund is second in FC Cincinnati history in appearances (57) and has two goals to his name.

His first goal for the club was a game-winner against rival Columbus Crew at a closed-door Nippert Stadium on Oct. 14, 2020.

Hagglund would next score for FCC on May 16 against Inter Miami in the first-ever match at TQL Stadium.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Nick Hagglund signs contract to remain at FC Cincinnati

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