While many outside of the Queen City usually associate Cincinnati sports wise with either the Reds or Bengals, but thanks to their success, FC Cincinnati of the United Soccer League is turning it into a soccer town.
FC Cincinnati, or FCC for short, has quietly—yet effectively—carved their own little sports niche in a city that worships the likes of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Boomer Esiason and Anthony Munoz.
Thanks to their two impressive wins over MLS sides such as the Chicago Fire and the in-state rival Columbus Crew SC in front of rowdy record-setting crowds of 30,000-plus at the University of Cincinnati’s Nibbert Stadium during the U.S. Open Cup, the Blue and Orange could be in pole position to become the newest hotbed for Major League Soccer.
MLS, who is gradually growing into a reputable soccer league both domestically and worldwide, is looking to add two new teams for the upcoming 2018 season. It’s no secret that FC Cincinnati is one of the two teams that MLS is looking at, as officials have been spotted on the sidelines at Nippert, and have been watching the attendance numbers of the USL side, are also closely monitoring the developments of FCC’s potential 25,000-seat Allianz Arena-inspired new stadium down on the Ohio River.
With MLS keeping a close eye on developments downstate between Hamilton County officials, the city of Cincinnati and Futbol Club Cincinnati, let’s also not lose sight of the bigger picture in MLS trying to corner the untapped B1G Ten market.
With teams already in Columbus, Chicago, Minneapolis, in the form of the forementioned Fire and Crew and the expansion club Minnesota United, putting a second team in—perhaps the best non-SEC football-playing state of Ohio—makes sense.
Ohio loves its football. From Buckeyes to Bengals…and even the lowly Cleveland Browns. But unknowest to those outside the Buckeye State, but Ohio has a rich and storied history of playing soccer.
Nationally recognized high schools such as local powers such as Cincinnati St. Xavier and Lasalle, Anderson and Summit Country Day are just an example of some of the local talent pool that the Queen City produces. Other notable Ohio high school soccer powers include Cleveland’s St Ignatius, Columbus’ St. Charles, Toledo’s St. John, Hudson High and Cleveland-area suburban power, Shaker Heights.
With the success of Columbus in being the de facto home of USMNT as Fortress Dos a Cero notably against hated rival Mexico, along with the Crew and FC Cincinnati currently in the U.S. Open, it’s a touch finish in terms of adding FCC as MLS’s newest club.
Cincinnati may be home to the Bengals and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, but if MLS is as smart and shrewd as they have been so far, then the Queen City will be home to a third in FC Cincinnati.