Welcome to another installment of CincinnatiSoccerTalk.com’s “Supporters Feature” as we count down the days until Saturday’s FC Cincinnati home opener. We have featured two supporters so far, including Die Innenstadt and The Pride member Adam Sandfoss, as well as FCC staff member Josh Staley. In our third feature, we hope to provide our readers with another story highlighting the soccer culture in Cincinnati.
This past February, I was on a walk with my 3 year old niece when we stumbled upon her neighbors playing soccer. We stopped so she could watch and I started talking with the parents. They told me that their daughters play youth soccer, and one of the daughters in particular, Alayna Townsend, has shown an affinity for FC Cincinnati.
Alayna, an 8 year old, has been playing soccer for over three years. She has played in many different positions, but I was surprised to learn about her favorite position. “I like defense, I play all the positions on the back line.” I could tell that she must like being a defender because her favorite player was Austin Berry. “I like Austin because he plays center back and because he is from Cincinnati.”
When telling me about how she got interested in soccer, she brought up a great story about her dad. Alayna’s father, a former college football player, would tape the Women’s World Cup games for her. “I loved watching them play and I would make my sisters watch all the games with me.”
The young defender plans to go to games with her family and friends, but is especially excited to go with her fellow soccer players Alexa and Alli. “Alexa and Alli are really good soccer players. Alli (Allison Mathis) went to Northwest HS and now plays for CSU Bakersfield.” Alayna told me that she would love to become a professional soccer player. “I hope Cincinnati will get a pro women’s team someday.” But for now, she is very excited to go to FC Cincinnati games at Nippert. “I can’t wait to go downtown and watch their games.” Her favorite part besides watching the team is “going to the concession stand and being around a lot of people.”
My biggest surprise during our interview was that Alayna already had a FC Cincinnati T-shirt. “I told my mom that I was really excited to go to a game. We came home from school one day and she had a shirt waiting for me. She is the best!”
Alayna really surprised me. It was amazing to me that an 8 year old was following the club and that she knew how they were doing. This experience was another part of why I believe this club is going to be special. As with many of the more than 55,000 youth soccer players in the area, this will be their first experience with local high-level soccer.
“We are very excited and I can’t wait to cheer on the team!”
READ MORE from Cincinnati Soccer Talk: