In 1854, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of our fair city:
And this Song of the Vine,
This Greeting of Mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver,
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.
The largest western city of the United States at the time, locals took inspiration from his poem Catawba Wine and dubbed Cincinnati: “the Queen City.” Some people also refer to Charlotte, North Carolina as “the Queen City” since it was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg, wife of Great Britain's King George III. The name was thought up by citizens loyal to the British crown. Ironically, Charlotte’s soccer team is named “Independence” despite playing in a city named in honor of the wife of a historical tyrant, one the United States sought independence from!
Frankly, I think it’d be better if the team was named after the 1996 blockbuster film Independence Day. Their Supporters Groups could yell “welcome to earth,” and make TIFOs of Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. Yet, it seems they’re sticking to the American Revolution theme, despite their city’s pro-crown past.
Affiliated with the Colorado Rapids, the team’s crest is emblazoned with 1775 even though the team was born in 2014 and first played in 2015 much like our friends down in Louisville. Unlike Louisville though, Charlotte doesn’t play in a baseball stadium. Like FCC, they’re coming into April 9th with a 1-1-0 record early in the battle of the Eastern Conference. FCC and Charlotte have a friendly wager over "the Queen City Cup," a trophy awarded to whomever wins both matches or qualifies higher in a complex system of rules detailed here.
So who’s the real “Queen City?” Maybe neither has a solitary claim to the name, but the two will do battle anyways this Saturday. It’s FCC’s inaugural home opener, right here in the true Queen City at Nippert Stadium.
If you happened to catch it back in February, I authored an editorial on my website, Queen City Discovery. I laid out why I'm supporting FC Cincinnati, how I became involved in helping to found Die Innenstadt, how I became a fan of soccer, and why I skeptically bought a t-shirt at the beginning of it all. Whether this team wound up being successful or faded like so many other minor league endeavors in the annals of Cincy sports history, I wanted the souvenir. Since I bought that shirt in August, so much has developed. From that first meeting of a few people on a cold night at Rhinegeist, to an exciting preseason, to marching at Bockfest, to the 150 members and growing that we have now: I never could have imagined how great Die Innenstadt has become already. Finally, we get to see the team play at their home stadium in a regular season game and continue to watch the club, the support around it, and the city grow.
I didn’t get to attend the friendly against Dayton last night, but from what I hear, it was a great time. Nick Listerman snagged a shot of how the stadium is shaping up in its soccer form:
This coming Saturday, though, is the real deal. So here’s what we’re doing to commemorate it:
We’ll meet at Rhinegeist* starting around 3 PM. If you’ve already joined and have a scarf on order, you’ll be able to pick it up. If you’re looking to join (and eventually get a scarf), we’ll be selling memberships, but will have to put your name down for the next round of scarves. After enjoying several of the wonderful local brews that Rhinegeist has to offer, we’ll organize for the trip to Nippert and start marching around 5:15. We’ll be heading through Over-The-Rhine, up the Ohio Ave. steps to CUF, then into Nippert. The match against Charlotte starts at 7 PM. Please note that if you're planning on picking up your scarf this Saturday, we'll only have them available at Rhinegeist before the match.
If you don’t want to do the march, you can always drive (parking options at UC), catch an Uber/Taxi, or hop on the No. 17 Metro (you can't take the streetcar uptown yet, you'l have to ask Mayor Cranley about that).
I remember once seeing the Cincinnati Silverbacks indoor team play at the Gardens in the mid 90’s. I was six or seven. My father and I sat with a lone supporter behind the goal. Fueled by plastic cups filled with draft beer, he relentlessly heckled the opposing goalie by calling him “Opie” due to the name of "Howard" on his jersey (a reference to Ron Howard’s “Opie” character on The Andy Griffith Show).
Soccer in Cincinnati has evolved, as have its supporters behind the goals.
Come be part of it with us.
Stand with Die Innenstadt, stand with Cincinnati. Juncta Juvant.
*Rhinegeist is located at 1910 Elm Street; not to be confused with Rhinehaus, our home for AWAY matches.