This past Friday was a test. A test for the team and supporters alike. FCC was coming "home" so to speak, even if the preseason friendly against Xavier University's men's soccer team was technically an "away" game. After watching them go undefeated in preseason games via online streams and Twitter, this was the first chance for most of us to see them play in person, in Cincinnati, and to gather for a live match.
Members of Die Innenstadt, The Pride, and The Den gathered at Listermann's before the match while sharing beers and ideas. By 5:00 there was a large group. By 5:30 it was a packed house. The fine folks at Listermann's kept the beer flowing, the line moving, and even offered up tours of the brewery.
At 6:30, the crowd migrated to the sidewalk along Dana Ave. and began the first march. Flags waved, chants were tested, and cars honked in support as a sea of fans in orange and blue made the ten minute walk to the Xavier soccer stadium.
Finally, it was happening.
When the club was announced last August, I would've never imagined being part of a community like this, marching together with so much energy, excitement, and enthusiasm. If this is what a preseason match was like, I can't wait to see what the regular season brings.
Supporters took up the southern end of the stands. The Die Innenstadt banner was raised and as FCC and Xavier's players entered the pitch, the crowd erupted. Finally, it was time: FCC was in Cincinnati.
￼The national anthem played and we sang along. As FCC began battling in their fifth and final preseason contest, the supporters started up. So many people have put forth time and effort to help develop this community so far, but Friday was the first time to really workshop chants and come together as a group in a match day setting You can only come up with so many ideas while sipping beers in a bar or over the internet. The first real game environment provided the proper space to exercise several chants and for supporter's to unite. Some folks were brave enough to throw something out there and see what stuck. Many chants caught on naturally, developing as the game unfolded. At one point, a chorus of "Oh, Canada" broke out after mistaking Jimmy McLaughlin for Jamie Dell, but there were some successes too. The night at Xavier offered a platform for everyone to try things out and somewhat streamline the creative process.
Some highlights include, this one from Claire:
"We love you, Cincy, we do! We love you, Cincy, it's true! We love you, Cincy, we do! We love you, Cincy, orange and blue!"
Following McLaughlin's goal and the one scored by Okoli from Dell, we channeled nostalgic, local sports talk radio with:
"Heeeeyyyyy! We don't, we don't, we don't mess around, hey!" (x3)
At the first sight of Omar Cummings' taking the pitch:
"Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme, get on up, it's Omar time! Goooooo Cummings!"
...a reference to his Jamaican heritage and the third greatest* film of all time, "Cool Runnings."
In the future, we'll offer up a page defining chants and their lyrics as they come along. Want to get involved or have a great idea? Join us.
￼Friday night wasn't the culmination of everyone's efforts, nor will the first USL home game be. One of the things I loved seeing that night was how much Die Innenstadt has already grown and evolved in such a short time. From an idea posted on Reddit by Ryan, to a chorus of "we don't mess around" proclaimed by everyone that has come together so far. Things will only continue to grow and evolve just as this club will. Friday wasn't the final piece of the puzzle, the largest crowd, or the most important game, but it was a great start.
This coming weekend, FCC will play their first regular season and first USL matchup down in Charleston. Several folks are making the trip down South, but those of us staying here will gather at Rhinehaus on Saturday. Then it's off to Bethlehem for another away tilt. The team comes home and opens up Nippert with a friendly against the University of Dayton on April 5th. I think that game will be another good barometer, another chance to show how support is developing and it's our first chance to see the club play in their home.
Then comes Charlotte, the first regular season home game and another step in the evolution of Die Innenstadt, FCC, and Cincinnati.
In the meantime, a look at some other things in development: special thanks to Jeremy Schulz for offering up his studio as a workspace: