What a week for FC Cincinnati. Despite the loss, the attention FC Cincinnati has received for breaking the USL regular season attendance record has been phenomenal. Before we move on to this Sunday’s match against Toronto FC II, we wanted to highlight a few additional points discussed on yesterday’s podcast.
First, the supporters groups have been unbelievable in preseason and at the first two home matches. Payne Rankin, president of the Pride supporters group, joined the podcast to talk about some of the changes they’ve made and how they plan to evolve to create an even better supporter’s experience.
It was also fantastic to see the FC Cincinnati and Louisville City supporters groups come together and do a little kumbaya after weeks of bickering and banter via social media. They were like two angry ogres charging at one another prepared to tear each other limb-from-limb, and then when they met on game day, they hugged, and supported cancer research together. Pretty cool. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. At the end of the day they are the same people, American soccer’s most vociferous supporters. They just happen to live in different cities.
— Joe Vala (@jayveeinky) April 18, 2016
Second, Brad Weigel made the following great point on the podcast. There’s no doubt at this point that Nippert is a fantastic venue for soccer. I was skeptical when I first heard that FC Cincinnati was going to play there. I hadn’t seen the renovations and I was not thrilled about the team playing on an artificial surface. What didn’t occur to me then is that Nippert is chock-full of character and history, and that matters. Character like that cannot be manufactured. It is from a romantic architectural generation that has passed. I love the Cincinnati neighborhood I live in specifically because it has this kind of history and character. When Nippert’s filled with loud passionate fans, it provides an atmosphere as exciting and authentic as some of the best soccer venues I’ve been to in America or Europe. Would I still like to see the team play on a natural grass surface someday? Yes. The case is closed on whether Nippert works though.
Finally, I hope everyone associated with FC Cincinnati uses the national, and even international attention, as motivation to make this team and fan experience even better. I’m not just talking about the front office and the team itself. I’m talking about those two parties in addition to every fan and member of Cincinnati’s soccer community. Everyone should take a day to soak in the attention and pat themselves on the back, and then get back to work. There is the potential to rest on our collective laurels and say to ourselves “Hey, we did it!” Twenty thousand in paid attendance at the second home game is an unbelievable number, and worthy of recognition.
(Queue some dramatic music) I believe that we can do better. I hope the front office uses it as motivation to continue to make the game day experience better and grow the team financially. I hope the supporters groups use it as motivation to make even bigger, cooler tifos and sing even louder next match. I hope the average fan uses it as an opportunity to learn a new chant and schedule the next match on their calendar. Saturday proved that this could be something big, but its still up to every single person that cares to take it upon themselves to make it happen.
Can I get a “Rudy, Rudy” chant?
Be sure to check back tomorrow for our full preview of the Toronto FC II match. On Friday we will release a special feature on Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund, the Lakota West and Xavier product that now plays for Toronto FC.
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