From the time I first stepped on a field as a four-year-old kid, to the after school practices as a high school senior, soccer has always found a way to weave itself into my busy life.
The game found me 7,600 miles from Cincinnati on an Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam where I defended bragging rights against the Navy. It even found me at my office desk, during a live stream in 2015 as I watched an announcement for a new USL franchise in Cincinnati.
I had never owned season tickets before, but I decided to place a deposit and secure my place in line for the inaugural season. There was an excitement that took over my friends and me to be a part of something special from the very beginning.
Little did I know that this decision would have such an amazing impact on my life.
Soon, my weekends became engulfed in FC Cincinnati home matches at Nippert Stadium and streaming away matches with some of my closest friends. On the occasion that we had available tickets, I invited friends or family who afterward expressed their interest to return to another match. Many even told me that the FC Cincinnati match was the best sporting event they have ever been to.
Growing the FC Cincinnati and soccer fan base among friends and throughout the city is a special feeling. But a greater transformation was spurred by the FCC movement. A development that was unforeseen on the day I decided to become a season-ticket holder.
If you ever asked me what was most important to me in life, my answer without a doubt would be family.
Growing up in Cincinnati, my dad coached my early years of soccer. And he was rarely absent from the sideline during my high school matches. But that is where his passion for the game ended. My dad and I share some interests and our relationship was never bad. But something changed, something rooted, and something brought us closer together. Convincing my dad to join me for a match he witnessed the atmosphere of the 2016 playoff match against The Battery, he could not wait for the next season to begin.
For the 2017 season, I was able to secure a seat right next to mine for my Dad to call his own. On match day when we distribute tickets; if he does not get seat 10 next to my usual seat 11 he will let you know in jest. Our days between matches are filled with routine texts, calls, and conversations about the club. And when match day landed in the middle of our family vacation, you better believe Dad had the pontoon docked and the wifi on lock down to stream the victory against Miami FC.
The day I placed a deposit for season tickets I thought I was just becoming a season-ticket holder to a new soccer team, but it is more than that. This is a Club that is making an impact on and off of the pitch. Win, Lose or Draw I will forever carry these match day memories with me and the unification it has had upon my family.