Major League Soccer has announced its 26th team – FC Cincinnati.
Cincinnati as the next MLS expansion city might come as a surprise to some, but those familiar with the sport recognize the volcanic rise in popularity that FC Cincinnati has produced in the Queen City in recent years.
“The rise of Cincinnati as a passionate soccer market in recent years, coinciding with the city’s growing economy and reputation as a top destination for young professionals makes it an ideal city for our growing league,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in the announcement ceremony in late May.
Since 2016, FC Cincinnati has competed in the lower-division USL, the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium serving as its home pitch. Nippert Stadium will continue to serve FC Cincinnati as a temporary home in MLS until a permanent soccer-specific stadium can be built.
The new 21,000-seat, $212.5 million stadium will be built in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood.
While “temporary”, recent renovations to Nippert Stadium make the facility viable for MLS competition today, allowing FC Cincinnati to make its MLS debut in 2019, one year ahead of Nashville and Miami – two other recent MLS expansion cities who won’t begin play until 2020.