CINCINNATI - If you’ve been around any form of media from Greater Cincinnati in the past couple of months, chances are you’ve heard of FC Cincinnati.
The first-year professional soccer team is regularly drawing 16,000 people or more to Nippert Stadium. That’s the best attendance in the United Soccer League.
If you are a newcomer and a little lost in the atmosphere of a soccer match, fear not. Here's how to sound like you know what you’re talking about whilst watching the lads in orange and blue.
Tip 1: Go crazy when your team scores. In soccer, or "the beautiful game" as many call it, the objective is to get the ball into the goal. Easy, right? Wrong. Soccer is a very low scoring sport compared to what you may be used to. That’s OK though. It makes the goals that much more exciting.
Tip 2: Learn the terminology. Nothing demarcates a veteran fan from a new fan more than knowledge of the terminology. In soccer, a match is played on a soccer pitch. Often a team will be referred to as a side.
Tip 3: Learn the nuances of the offside rule. Perhaps the most confusing aspect of soccer for new fans is the offside rule. An offensive player is deemed offside if he influences the play while being closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the second to last defender and the ball. In other words, there must be two defenders (or the ball) between the offensive player and the goal line in order for the player to receive a pass or collect a rejected shot on the goal. A player can, however, be in an offside position so long as he does not influence the play.
Tip 4: There is no "s" at the end of offside. This small detail will make you look like a seasoned soccer fan in no time.
Tip 5: Learn the timekeeping system. Unlike most sports, the clock in soccer continually counts up from zero to 90 minutes, with a halftime break after 45 minutes of play. This aspect of soccer often leads to some confusion as to when exactly an event took place. Because the clock starts from zero, the first minute corresponds to 0:00 to 0:59. In other words, 71:29 would actually be the 72nd minute.
Tip 6: Don’t do the wave. For whatever reason, doing the wave is frowned upon at a soccer match. This is why the Bailey (the “hardcore” fan section) sings “No wave in the Bailey” to the tune of “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Put simply, to look like you know what you’re doing at an FC Cincinnati match, all you really need to do is follow the Bailey’s lead.
As with anything in life, practice makes perfect.
The more matches you attend, watch on TV, or live stream, the more you’ll understand. As you come to know soccer, you will begin to realize why it is called "the beautiful game."
Austin Hinkel is an avid FC Cincinnati fan and is a member of the FC Cincinnati supporter group Die Innenstadt.