Chris Albright continued his offseason retool of the FC Cincinnati roster by making a splash at the midfield position, bringing in a player with experience winning championships and playing in big games.
FC Cincinnati acquired midfielder Pavel Bucha from Czech Republic side FC Viktoria Plzeň for an undisclosed fee, the club announced Wednesday, bringing him to MLS in the middle of the Czech First League (aka the Fortuna Liga) season to join The Orange and Blue in their pursuit of defending the Supporters Shield crown and winning even more trophies in 2024. Bucha, 25, signed a multiyear contract that runs through 2026 with an option for 2027.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Pavel to the club,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati general manager, in a press release. “His understanding of the game, ability to cover ground, and experience at the top levels of European soccer make him a valuable addition. He’s also an exceptional teammate who will fit seamlessly into the culture of the group.”
In 2022, Bucha helped lead FC Viktoria Plzeň to a Czech First League title while also qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for just the fifth time in club history, starting all six matches in qualification and all six group stage matches where the Plzeň, Czech Republic based side was matched up in the group of death and took on Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Viktoria Plzeň is currently sitting third in the league table and is awaiting its Round of 16 matches in the 2024 Europe Conference League, where Bucha started in all six of the club’s group-stage matches. In total, Bucha has made 33 career continental competition appearances.
Bucha was raised near the capital city of Prague in a suburb called Mělník and has played all of his professional soccer in Czechia, the preferred name of the country by its citizens but known as the Czech Republic, more commonly in the United States. As a youngster, he grew up in the academy of SK Slavia Prague (one of two major clubs in Prague), where he would eventually make his professional debut before being sold to Plazen, which is located about 45 miles southwest of the capital city near the German border. Before the sale, he spent a brief time on loan with FK Mladá Boleslav.
A box-to-box midfielder, Bucha is known for his ability to drive play through all sectors of the field, being able to play defensively while having the engine to turn…