FC Cincinnati wins MLS Expansion bid, to join league in 2019

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31: FC Cincinnati fans celebrate their victory during the USL Soccer match between FC Cincinnati an Indy Eleven on March 31, 2018, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis IN. FC Cincinnati defeated the Indy Eleven 1-0. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CINCINNATI, OHIO (Tuesday, May 29, 2018) – It’s official. Cincinnati, OH. and FC Cincinnati are headed to Major League Soccer. The league announced today that FC Cincinnati will join MLS in 2019.

FC Cincinnati wins MLS Expansion, to join league in 2019

Cincinnati began playing in the United Soccer League in 2016. They have quickly become a perennial playoff team in the USL Eastern Conference.

“Major League Soccer is proud to introduce Cincinnati as our 26th team,” said Commissioner Garber. “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. We congratulate Carl Lindner and his partners, and also the soccer fans of Cincinnati, who have passionately supported FC Cincinnati in the USL.”

Since beginning play, Cincinnati has been a flagbearer for USL attendance records, averaging over 24,000 fans a game. Last season, they made it to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals, defeating two MLS teams along the way and getting crowds in excess of 30,000.

“Cincinnati’s selection by Major League Soccer for an expansion team is a triumph for the continued renaissance of this incredible city,” said managing owner Carl H. Lindner III. “I have to start by thanking the supporters of FC Cincinnati, because from the beginning they were the foundation of the efforts of our bid to join MLS. We could not have done this without them. This has been a true team effort among the soccer fans, our partners and our civic and corporate leaders. This is a city with a historically deep relationship between the people and its teams, and we are going to take that to even greater heights in MLS. Thank you to Commissioner Garber and all of the league’s owners for their faith in Cincinnati. We’re excited to be part of Major League Soccer’s tremendous future.”

Cincinnati will continue to play at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati until a 21,000-seat soccer stadium in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood is completed in 2021.

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