Major League Soccer has a new team—FC Cincinnati.
On Tuesday, MLS announced FC Cincinnati, which has been playing its home games in the United Soccer League at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, will be joining the highest ranks of professional soccer in the United States:
FC Cincinnati hosted a celebration in the city as the three-year-old team’s move to the MLS was announced:
FC Cincinnati @fccincinnati
Today is one of the biggest days in Cincinnati soccer history! Make sure you celebrate with the rest of @CityOfCincy on @MyFountainSqr, with festivities set to kickoff at 4:30 p.m. Get more info: https://t.co/2FMaBZT3Ns #JoinTheMarch | #RiseTogether https://t.co/lCQdE5Sndl
According to Patrick Brennan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, FC Cincinnati will start playing MLS games in the 2019 season and can thank fan support that exceeded some of the teams currently in the league for helping push it to the next level.
Brennan noted the club drew a then-United Soccer League franchise record 333,353 during its first season before setting the bar even higher with 477,000 fans in 2017.
"Major League Soccer is proud to introduce Cincinnati as our 26th team," MLS commissioner Don Garber said, per ESPN.com. "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."
While those fans will have the chance to continue watching FC Cincinnati in Nippert Stadium in the early days of its MLS tenure, the club will eventually move to a stadium in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood.
Since there was already a temporary home in place for FC Cincinnati, the team will start before two other expansion clubs in Miami and Nashville, which will join the league starting in 2020.