FC Cincinnati Rises to MLS


Grace Berding

A sold out crowd at Nippert Stadium cheers for the FC Cincinnati in a 2017 Open Cup game against Chicago Fire. FC Cincinnati will face the Chicago Fire in league play during 2019.

Bobby Keegan, Editor in Chief

In 2015, FC Cincinnati was announced as a pro soccer club to begin play in, at that time, third-division soccer league known as the USL, or United Soccer League. Now, just three years after the establishment of the team, FCC plans to play in the first-division Major League Soccer also known as the MLS in 2019 as part of a league expansion. Once FCC joins, there will be 26 teams in the MLS.
Currently, FCC plays at Nippert Stadium, the University of Cincinnati football stadium, but in the wake of being named an MLS team for 2019, FC Cincinnati has drafted a plan for a new stadium in the West End. The new stadium would hold 25,000 spectators, with the ability to expand. Nippert stadium currently has a 35,000 person capacity. The new stadium is an important change for the club, considering it is a requirement for all MLS clubs to have their own soccer-specific stadium. However, the location of the new stadium is already occupied by the Taft High School football field, so FCC will have to build a new state-of-the-art stadium for the school.
Because FCC will be in the first-division next year, ticket prices will increase. This year the average ticket price is about $12; however, in 2019 the average ticket price is expected to be about $19 dollars. Season tickets for 2019 were released to current season ticket holders on Aug. 12 with a goal to sell 25,000 season tickets, which would be 10,000 more tickets sold than the 2018 season, although the ticket price has increased due to being in the MLS.
This year in the USL, FCC has 17 wins, three losses and six ties as of Aug. 31, making them the best team in the USL, as well as favorites to win the USL cup. These statistics are what really convinced the MLS to add FCC for 2019 along with their massive fan base.
People have questioned whether they will have the same success in the MLS or not. Since 2015, the club has continuously gotten better and they are showing no signs of stopping. At the end of July the club signed two new players to the squad, both being well known for their talent and both coming from the MLS. One is Fernando Adi, a forward who had 56 goals in 126 games for the Portland Timbers. The other is Fanti Alashe, a defensive midfielder from the San Jose Earthquakes. Both of these new signings are expected to have a large impact on the team in 2019; however, both will be with the club for 2018 to get used to the squad. Along with these new player signings, the club just extended the contract of head coach Alan Koch that will keep him with the club through the 2020 season.
Brining a soccer team to the city of Cincinnati back in 2015 was a big change for the city and has had a impact on people across Cincinnati. Many are interested to see what the future holds for the team and the city as a whole.