CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati fans have done it again.
During Saturday’s 1-0 win against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Cincinnati’s new professional soccer team, FC Cincinnati, hosted a United Soccer League record 23,375 fans at University of Cincinnati’s Nipper Stadium, the club announced.
Tonight's announced attendance is a new @USL record! Thank you Cincinnati! #CINvPGH pic.twitter.com/KbubtaNtia
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) May 14, 2016
“I think there's been a real hunger. This has always been a great soccer town,” said club President and General Manager Jeff Berding. “We've just never had a pro team of our own. I think that this has shown that if you do it the right way.... You have high character players. You do it so well here in your stadium with our partners at UC that people are ready to be supportive.”
For some perspective from inside the stadium, watch this short video:
“It’s grown with each game,” said fan Randy Stumpf, who hasn’t missed an FC Cincinnati home game yet, nor does he plan to. “I think it started with fans interested and now we have the support of the whole city.”
The previous record, also set by FC Cincinnati fans on what was only the club’s second official home game, was 20,947. Prior to that, Sacramento Republic FC held the claim to record attendance, at 20,231.
Hear from FCC midfielder Jimmy McClaughlin as he prepared for Saturday’s match in the viewer here:
Breaking its own record — and so quickly — could go a long way toward what club managers have said is a long-term goal: to one day join Major League Soccer, the top U.S. soccer league.
“We are thrilled to be in the USL, but certainly, as the MLS expands down the road, we would like to be in the conversation,” Berding previously said.
MLS games averaged 21,546 fans per game last season.
“The fans and families that are here clearly shows that Cincinnati is easily ready for this market for soccer,” coach John Harkes said last month, after taking the record from Sacramento.
WCPO's James Leggate contributed to this report.