Cincinnati wins Major League Soccer expansion spot

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Following the news of plans for an all-new soccer stadium for the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, it has been announced that FC Cincinnati will be the 26th Major League Soccer team.

When the club – which will continue as FC Cincinnati when it joins the league – makes its MLS debut in 2019, it will initially use Nippert Stadium with a current capacity of up to 40,000 spectators.

By 2021, however, FC Cincinnati should have its own home, when the purpose-built, 21,000-seat stadium in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood is completed. The venue is the result of club and community leadership coming together to build a soccer stadium that promises to be the centerpiece of economic growth in the region.

“Major League Soccer is proud to introduce Cincinnati as our 26th team,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “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.”

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati stadium rendering

Cincinnati’s MLS spot is at least in part the result of the large fan support the team has gathered. The team set attendance records in its first two USL (United Soccer League) seasons, with an attendance of 32,250 for their 2017 semifinal match against the New York Red Bulls. In 2018, the club surpassed 17,000 season tickets and has so far averaged almost 24,500 fans per game.

“The news of Cincinnati joining Major League Soccer makes this a landmark day for our city,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. “I want to thank Commissioner Garber and everyone with MLS for believing in Cincinnati, and I’m delighted that the faith shown in our beautiful city by Carl Lindner and his partners has been rewarded.

“In MLS, FC Cincinnati and its new world-class soccer stadium in the West End will spur additional economic and cultural growth for our city.”

CREDIT USA TODAY

By Illya Verpraet

June 1, 2018

Pics: USA Today

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