FC Cincinnati to make a big announcement May 29
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - FC Cincinnati says there will be a significant announcement Tuesday about the future of soccer in the city.
That's the same language MLS used in other cities before awarding franchises.
Rhinegeist Brewery is just a short soccer kick (okay, well maybe kind of a long drop kick) from the proposed FC Cincinnati stadium soccer site in the West End.
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber will be at Rhinegeist for Tuesday's announcement, so it looks like FC Cinncinnati and its fans are indeed headed for the majors.
In sports terms, FC Cincinnati is just an infant. It’s in only its third season.
But big enthusiasm and big crowds at UC's Nippert Stadium caught the attention of Major League Soccer, which wants FCC to move up from the second-tier United Soccer League to MLS.
The process has been convoluted. FC Cincinnati originally tabbed Oakley for a new stadium location, but Major League Soccer wanted a more urban location.
So, FC Cincinnati went to the West End and was able to get neighborhood approval in return for several million dollars worth of community programs.
FC Cincinnati's self-financed, $200,000,000 facility will be soccer-specific, not sharing a football stadium like Nippert or Paul Brown.
“When you go as a fan to a soccer-specific stadium, it shows psychologically we're committed to this sport and it's not an afterthought in our market. When you do see shared stadiums you usually have shared owners. Someone owns an NFL team and a share of the MLS team,” said Dr. Joe Cobbs, an associate professor of sports business at NKU.
For decades, soccer fans have been claiming the beautiful game would become the next big thing in the United States, and for decades they were wrong. But now, it looks like they're right.
“I think that what we're seeing now is that a lot of people in their 20s and 30s played the game growing up and now they have disposable income to spend. I think that when you look at some of the other franchises, when you ask people what it's like at a soccer game they say they've never seen anything like it,” said Bob Brumberg of “Die Innenstadt”, an FC Cincinnati supporters group.
It looks like FC Cincinnati has moved from the minors to the majors in just three years and at the same time it seems like the Reds have done just the opposite.
As for when would FC Cincinnati join Major League Soccer? Local 12 has learned that the team, the league, and the University of Cincinnati have been talking about upgrades to Nippert.
The turf, locker rooms, security, which would let FC Cincinnati become an MLS expansion team next season, and play at Nippert until the West End facility is ready in 2021.
Fans are encouraged to gather on fountain square to watch Tuesday afternoon's announcement. Local 12 news will also carry it live.
In the meantime, after beating Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, FC Cincinnati learned on Thursday who they'll face in the next round of the US Open Cup.
As the result of a draw, the orange and blue are scheduled to face "Minnesota United FC" on June 6th at Nippert.
The "loons," as they're nicknamed, also moved up from a lower league, to join MLS as an expansion side last year.