Less than three years after the team was announced, FC Cincinnati has made the impossible come true: It is becoming the latest Major League Soccer expansion team.
The seemingly unparalleled enthusiasm by fans, along with strong showings in regular play and an impressive run in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, pushed FC Cincinnati to the front of the pack. This is an exciting day for "Soccer City, USA."
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No Cinderella story is without its darker edges. MLS requires teams to have dedicated stadiums, which means FC Cincinnati will have to move out of its current home at University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium. Cincinnati still has collective PTSD from the 1996 stadium tax deal that created Paul Brown Stadium and the Great American Ball Park. And deeper scars of systemic racism and poverty have surfaced with the announcement that the new stadium will be in the West End, which was razed during an urban renewal program in the 1950s. FC Cincinnati must be a good neighbor to the residents of the West End and act as an engine of their prosperity, not the instrument of their displacement.
Still, this is a day of celebration. Cincinnati has continued to reinvent itself over the past 17 years. There are still many hurdles to overcome. But this offers the promise of even more progress for the Queen City. It is another knockout for a city that has continually been able to punch above its weight. (What other city this size has an MLB team, NFL team, world-class arts such the Cincinnati Pops, Orchestra, Ballet, Opera and art museums, Museum Center, foodie scene, beer scene AND an MLS scene?) So break out the blue and orange. Cheer for The Nati. We've scored a huge goal.
Kevin Necessary is the editorial cartoonist for WCPO. His opinions do not reflect those of WCPO.