New Louisville City FC signing Jimmy McLaughlin celebrates scoring from the penalty spot against Nashville SC in the 2018 USL Championship Playoffs. | Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC announced on Tuesday another notable addition for the 2021 USL Championship season with the signing of Jimmy McLaughlin, who joins the club after spending the past five campaigns with FC Cincinnati. The signing is pending league and federation approval.
The deal adds the 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, to the LouCity squad for the new campaign.
“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 percent 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 native of Malvern, Pa., McLaughlin established himself as an FCC favorite from the start of the franchise’s history, tallying 12 goals and 11 assists in more than 100 appearances across all competitions since 2016.
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.
Jimmy McLaughlin helped lead the Harrisburg City Islanders to the 2014 Championship Final alongside new LouCity teammate Antoine Hoppenot while on loan from the Philadelphia Union. | Photo courtesy Harrisburg City Islanders
“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 through the Philadelphia Union’s youth system. He then played one season collegiately for Colgate University where he earned the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year award before signing his first professional contract with the Union.
During his time with the Union, McLaughlin spent time on loan in the Championship with the Harrisburg City Islanders, making more than 50 appearances for the club over four seasons. Most notably, McLaughlin was a key figure in the City Islanders’ run to the 2014 Championship Final where he teamed up with new LouCity teammate Antoine Hoppenot to lead a late-season surge that only came to an end in the title game against Sacramento Republic FC.
McLaughlin recorded six goals and four assists in 23 games in the regular season and started in all three of the side's postseason contests, which saw the City Islanders claim road victories against Orlando City SC and the Richmond Kickers to reach the Championship Final.
McLaughlin produced more big moments for Cincinnati, too. In July 2017, he scored in the penalty shootout of FCC's victory against the Chicago Fire in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He also converted from the spot the 2018 Championship Playoffs to help his side defeat Nashville SC in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
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.”
For his career, McLaughlin has made 153 regular-season appearances in the Championship and recorded 23 goals and 14 assists. In addition, he has made four appearances in Major League Soccer, with his debut having come in October of 2012 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,” said Cruz. “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.”