Before this year, I had never been to a professional soccer game. The only soccer I would watch was the World Cup. Even with playing the sport through high school, soccer was never an interest of mine as a fan.
Last month, I went to FC Cincinnati vs. Sporting Kansas City, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. The atmosphere was something much different than I had expected from an MLS team. The fan section known as The Bailey kept the energy up for the entirety of the game. The fans as a whole were energetic, hopping up and down with every scoring chance, save, card, and goal. I had heard a few good things about FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season, but seeing the fan energy was awesome.
My experience last month was so enjoyable that I returned to Nippert yesterday for another match. Going into yesterday’s match, FC Cincinnati was 2-7-2, had not scored a goal for five consecutive matches, and fired head coach Alan Koch earlier in the week. 26,258 fans still showed up, filling up much of Nippert Stadium, which holds just over 33,000 for soccer (this is bigger than most MLS stadiums). The atmosphere was even better than the first time. The crowd followed the Bailey who once again gave their full effort for 90 minutes. Clapping, chanting, and singing from the crowd appeared to spark the team as an early goal was scored by FC Cincy. The weather also happened to be beautiful with temperatures in the upper 60s and sunny skies.
My takeaway from my experience is that FC Cincinnati fans are by no means fair-weather, and Cincinnati is a great expansion for the MLS. This is a club which just started playing three years ago and is now in the top league in the United States and Canada. A great atmosphere and diehard fanbase will attract new fans as well. Congratulations FC Cincy, you have made a fan out of me and I will definitely be back at Nippert in the near future.
FC Cincinnati defeated the Montreal Impact, 2-1 in yesterday’s match.