The Vanguard is the foremost part of an advancing force. For FC Cincinnati’s ‘micro’ supporter group, the Vanguard is a fit name as they sit front and center of the Bailey. In the middle of this collection of friends, you can find one of their most loyal members, Elizabeth Wagner. Adorned with her blue feather earrings, she transforms on matchdays from a dog mom and gym goer to a high-energy fanatic for the Orange and Blue.
Wagner grew up in a soccer-loving family, as she recalls going up to Detroit with her parents to see a World Cup match in 1994. Wagner, her mother, her sister and her niece all played and/or coached soccer. When her daughter’s playing days were through, Wagner felt like she needed to be connected to the sport in some way. That’s when she decided to go check out the new club in town. A perfect match with FCC was formed. She has been a season ticket holder since 2017 and can count very few home games she has missed.
From helping with a tifo set practice to putt-putt golfing with Lucho Acosta and Brandon Vazquez, she has had many fond memories over the years supporting FCC. But winning the 2023 Supporters Shield tops her list. It was an emotional moment as the years of frustration and building toward a trophy culminated in the moment the players were about to lift the Supporters Shield in front of the Bailey.
On matchdays, you can find her pregaming in the ‘Parlor Room’ of the Symphony Hotel & Restaurant with her Vanguard crew. She likes to get to the match early to secure her spot in the Bailey. Once inside, Wagner is planted for the remainder of the match. Tom “the pizza guy” and Jimmy “the beer guy” assist in getting any needed refreshments throughout the match, especially during the playoffs.
“Thank you to the players for all they do,” Wagner said. “At the end of the day, it is just their profession. They go home to their wives and families. I just appreciate that they want to be here and play so hard for this city and fans. To the fans, thanks for being my friends. Thank you for making the experience so amazing. When I first started going to games, I went alone until I met people. These people are family to me and a very important part of my life now.”