It has taken me a period of mourning, but in the weeks following FC Cincinnati’s final match of its inaugural season, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what a season it was. Plus, in my time away from Tour de Cincinnati, I didn’t have a chance to write about FCC, my new favorite thing in Cincinnati. Consider this making up for lost time.
Some highlights from this season:
I met so many great people and made a number of new friends thanks to FC Cincinnati’s supporters’ group, Die Innenstadt (“the inner city” in German). We met at Mecklenburg Gardens to pregame before matches, marched to the stadium with our drummers in tow, and, along with The Pride and other enthusiastic FCC supporters, helped electrify Nippert Stadium by way of The Bailey.
I think we were all pretty blown away by attendance all season. FCC broke record after record after record — USL single-game record broken twice, plus the USL season attendance record — but being surrounded by 35,061 people while hosting a Premier League side was truly very special. The entire day was magic and I consider myself lucky to have been a part of it. As they say, I was Glad All Over.
I got to see a few John Harkes Radio Show recordings at Moerlein Lager House throughout the season. A group of us even spoke with him and Omar Cummings after one of the shows, which was pretty great. They were extremely friendly, gracious, and complimentary about the support they’d received from the city and fans.
I also attended a Tech Cafeteria lunch and learn featuring Jeff Berding, FCC’s General Manager. He was forthcoming and informative about building the team and organization from scratch, branding, and various investments. A pretty great event for anyone even half interested in Cincinnati’s newest professional club.
Before the season started, I could only recognize one or two players on the street. After a season of home matches and away (thanks to livestreams and viewing parties at official pub partners like Rhinehaus), I know the team much better. My absolute favorite was Harrison Delbridge — partly because I have a thing for tall blondes (don’t tell my husband), but also because he’s a great defender and wears number 4.
Along with Die Innenstadt marches to the stadium, two of my favorite parts of matches were when Mitch (Hildebrandt, the keeper) had his post-match moment with supporters in The Bailey, and also staying in The Bailey until all players and coaches had left the pitch.
Mitch Hildebrandt having a moment with The Bailey. Photo by @AlexVehr
With soccer rising in popularity in the US, having a professional club in Cincinnati has been incredible. Some of us hang out at Rhinehaus to watch Premier League matches on the weekends (mostly opposing teams, of course), and many of us support USA soccer, but there is something really special about the community we have built since taking up fandom with our city’s club together.
I am so proud of my city for bringing this club to Cincinnati.
It was a fantastic season that, unfortunately, ended too soon. It was like a rite of passage, really — a pro Cincinnati team getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Welcome to the city, boys. Can’t wait for next year.
In the meantime, save the date for Tuesday, 11/29 at 4pm, as Don Garber, the Commissioner of MLS, will be in Cincinnati for the #MLS2Cincy town hall.