NWSL to Cincy confirmed? What that could all mean?

Photo by Scott Huck.

By Jason Ashcraft

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. At least, so the old saying goes. Recently some smoke has been billowing up from the Mercy Health Training Center as it appears that FC Cincinnati brass is part of a bid to bring a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team to the Queen City.

First reported by Alex Silverman in the Sports Business Journal and later confirmed by FCC CEO, Jeff Berding, the FC Cincy group is one of three organizations that submitted their bid for an NWSL expansion team reportedly for the 2026 season. The Orange and Blue were joined by bids from Minnesota and Cleveland.

While it’s tempting to dive into the minutia of the potential bid, I’d rather take this time to do two things; make a bold prediction that Cincy will be home to an NWSL team, and give my thoughts on the team’s branding, colors, etc. So away we go!

Will there be an NWSL team playing in TQL Stadium in 2026? I certainly think there’s a good chance. Unlike the two other bids, the Cincinnati bid checks two important boxes: facilities and money. TQL Stadium and MHTC are both owned by the club and are considered by many to be among the best facilities in North America, if not the world. MTHC itself has plenty of room for expansion and locker rooms are already in place for a women’s team at TQL Stadium.

Both the Minnesota and Cleveland bids don’t have a stadium fully locked down. The Cleveland bid is relying on public money for a purpose-built stadium and the Minnesota bid is speculated to play at Minnesota United’s Allianz Field, though that isn’t 100 percent official.

Money should also be on FCC’s side with Berding and a cadre of local investors, many businesswomen among them. More details are sure to come out, but if the investment portfolio for FCC is any indication, the ownership group for a Cincy NWSL team should be loaded.

What about the branding? Well, this is one area where an NWSL team could really shine. While I love FCC and the color scheme, the team’s branding has been lackluster from the beginning. A new NWSL team could have a logo/crest that features the outline of Cincinnati’s iconic Union Terminal and the Tyler Davidson Fountain. I’d imagine blue will be the main color for the club but what about rose red for the secondary color? I know we have graphic designers among the FCC fanbase so let’s see those designs!

What about the name? NWSL clubs have done a great job of steering clear of the City FC/SC naming scheme which has plagued MLS in recent years. Kansas City features the Current, Portland has the Thorns and Louisville hosts Racing. A few favorites for a Cincinnati NWSL team spring to mind:

  • Queen City FC
  • Cincinnati Sirens
  • Cincinnati Crowns
  • Queen City Rangers (Sorry I had to get silly with that one)

One thing is for sure, if fans don’t peg the nickname “Queens” or “Fionas” on the team, we really need to do some soul-searching.

Will Cincinnati get an NWSL team? I sure think so. Women’s soccer is huge in the area and Rose Lavelle’s contract with her current team ends in 2026. What do you think? Let us know in the comments or at

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