FC Cincinnati will join Major League Soccer in 2019 as the 26th team in the league.
“The rise of Cincinnati as a passionate soccer market in recent years, coinciding with the city’s growing economy and reputation as a top destination for young professionals makes it an ideal city for our growing league,” said Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, on Tuesday.
“We congratulate [Managing Owner and CEO of FC Cincinnati] Carl Lindner and his partners, and also the soccer fans of Cincinnati, who have passionately supported FC Cincinnati in the USL.”
Cincinnati’s current home is in the second division of professional soccer, USL (United Soccer League). Overall attendance at these second division games tend to be low, but Cincinnati has made huge strides in support and gameplay, ultimately proving to Don Garber and Co. they are ready for the upper echelons of U.S. soccer.
Since 2016, the club has averaged over 21,00 fans in 16 home games last season. On April 7th, the club set a USL record with 25,667 supporters for its home opener. This year, they surpassed 17,000 season tickets sold.
For those of you not familiar with MLS, clubs like Chicago, Colorado and Philadelphia currently average around 15,000-20,000 a game.
They will continue to play at Nippert Stadium, located at the University of Cincinnati, until a soccer specific stadium is completed in 2021.
At the present moment, FC Cincinnati’s conference is undecided (they will most likely end up placed in the Eastern Conference).
I personally think Cinci will end up struggling to transition to the aggressiveness of MLS and will mirror Minnesota’s first season, who placed in 9th; the location of the city also isn’t a big enough attraction, unlike LA or NY, to bring star-studded players. But hey, I’ve definitely been wrong in the past.
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