It's been a long-time coming, but FC Cincinnati has finally been accepted into Major League Soccer.
The MLS officially welcomed FC Cincinnati as its newest expansion team on Tuesday night. Pictured (left to right): FC Cincinnati President and GM Jeff Berding, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, FC Cincinnati Majority Owner Carl Linder III and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. Photo by Travis Thayer, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Cincinnati, Oh.) - It was a celebration of "major" proportions Tuesday night in the Queen City.
Hundreds of FC Cincinnati supporters packed Rhinegeist Brewery in Over-the-Rhine as MLS Commissioner Don Garber officially granted the City of Cincinnati the newest Major League Soccer expansion club.
Thousands more celebrated the long-awaited announcement at Fountain Square in downtown.
Since its first season in the USL in 2016, FC Cincinnati has set attendance records including three crowds of more than 30,000 fans. To date, the club has averaged nearly 24,500 fans per game.
It's because of those staggering numbers that club officials have worked so hard for the better part of three years to ensure their club had a place in the MLS.
"This day was always the vision of Carl Linder and me from the day that we began on August 12th, 2015," said FC Cincinnati CEO and General Manager Jeff Berding. "This was always the plan. We had a vision on where we were going, and we had a plan on how we were going to get there."
FC Cincinnati will begin MLS play in 2019. The club will continue to play its home games at Nippert Stadium until its new 21,000-seat stadium is completed in the city's West End neighborhood. Stadium construction is expected to be completed by 2021.
"Major League Soccer is proud to introduce Cincinnati as our 26th team, said 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 soccer league. We congratulate Carl Linder and his partners, and also the soccer fans of Cincinnati, who has passionately supported FC Cincinnati in the USL."
FC Cincinnati supporters fill Rhinegeist Brewery to the brim. Photo by Travis Thayer, Eagle Country 99.3.
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