There’s not a day that goes by where some thought about soccer, particularly soccer in Cincinnati, doesn’t go through my head. I read news about various leagues on the bus, I think of ideas for Die Innenstadt while on my bike, I listen to podcasts about the game when I’m driving. It’s been just over two years since FC Cincinnati was announced as an expansion club in the then third division United Soccer League. Since those days of rumors and press conferences, so much has transpired here at home and in the game across the nation. Shaky early marketing aside, I was on board, hopeful about FC Cincinnati from the beginning.
There were a lot of like minded people, we formed this supporters group.
There were even more like minded people. They joined up with us and in other groups across the city.
Then there were thousands of people, they helped fill the stands for record attendances that watched league play, the Open Cup, international friendlies, and the US Women’s National Team.
From the beginning, I’ve said that I wanted to see FC Cincinnati attain membership in Major League Soccer. I liked that the pursuit of the nation’s top league represented ambition in the new club, I prayed it was true ambition and not just another name to add to the long list of departed minor league ventures in town. I wanted to see the city I love awarded a third major league franchise and to see its profile raised even further.
There’s times where I question whether MLS is the best move, but I’m not naive enough to believe that the alternatives are some sort of clear cut, organic option without glaring issues and hurdles of their own. It’s easy to say you don’t care about MLS if your market isn’t being considered, it’s also easy to be skeptical about the top league when it demonstrates some questionable moves. Regardless, I’ve been thinking a lot about this for awhile, since 2012 in fact. With a decision coming very, very soon, I’ve been trying to rack my brain as to how this is going to turn out.
In some scenarios I see it going our way, in others I see Cincinnati overlooked in the way so many others do as they fly over, making their assumptions and discounting our home. I’ve finally accepted that it doesn’t matter how many articles I read, how many discussions are had amongst friend, or how many ways we try to speculate on the expansion decisions made in closed door committee meetings. What does matter to me is my city and the things that make it wonderful. Things like this club. More specifically, what comes along with being a fan of this club.
What happens next, well, I want it to go one way, but it’s not the defining reason as to why this is all important. Whether FC Cincinnati joins Major League Soccer or not, I still plan to be an active participant with Die Innenstadt, I plan to do my part to help grow our charity efforts, to help promote our city and its people, to keep having memorable times with friends and what has become an extended family. MLS or not, I plan to cheer on my club and my city, a Die Innenstadt scarf held high above my head.
For me, this all runs deeper than an expansion committee decision. It’s a part of me, an important aspect of my life, an experience I share with so many wonderful people on match days and beyond. It’s bigger than soccer, it’s bigger than MLS, it’s bigger than our particular supporters group, it’s bigger than me.
No matter what the league is called, no matter where we land, I plan to be as active and as vocal as life allows. For me, this is about more than just stadium locations, political deals, and speculation. This is about people coming together in support of our city, to do positive things, to make everyone’s life have a few more bright moments bookended by a game and team we love, a city we’re proud to call home.
I’m hopeful that Major League Soccer sees our city, our club, and our support as an asset. No matter what they decide, though, I’m here for my city.
Because I love Cincinnati.
How about you?
Thanks for reading and "juncta juvant!"
- Ronny Salerno, Die Innenstadt Board Member