Major league soccer game comes with a soundtrack
As I prepared for attending my first major league professional soccer game, I reached out to some friends who had been attending FCCincinnati games when the team played in the USL. Now, FCCincinnati is in their first year as a member of the Major Soccer League.
They told me numerous things that I needed to experience and see. One thing that no one mention was that soccer comes with it’s own in-game soundtrack.
From before the kickoff through the last seconds of the game, the beat of a bass drum, correction bass drums, floats through Nippert Stadium.
It provides the rhythm for the crowd singing a hit list of “Ole”, “FCCincinnati” and other soccer top ten chants.
The FCCincinnati franchise and fans have become the darlings of MSL with their
“What we saw in Cincinnati is soccer in America. It’s unique, it’s beautiful and it’s here to stay,” tweeted Alexi Lalas who is an American soccer legend. “You’ve announced the MLS version of yourself with authority, style and personality.”
The chants, cheers and drums make for an atmosphere unlike other Cincinnati professional sports.
A Reds’ game is a slower, more relaxing pace with a “CHARGE” cheer at some point in the game.
A Bengals’ game is filled with individual yells of support or derision leading to an explosion from the crowd when an exciting play or hit occurs.
A Cyclones’ game has the unified chants of “You suck” during the visiting team’s introductions and after the home team scores as well as an electric atmosphere.
But none has a constant, beating soundtrack throughout the game. I assume that games in great weather have any louder and infectious play list when the crowd grows from the 26,000 in attendance on Saturday to a sold out crowd of 32,000.
Saturday’s game was played in a rain deluge and kept some fans home. It rained for hours before the game. It rained in the first half. It rained at halftime. it rained in the second half. A Forrest Gump type of rain.
But it never deterred the crowd in the Bailey who was providing the rhythm of the night.
FCCincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch said in his post-game press conference about the crowd, “It was amazing. It shows we have some true fans.”
The home team lost, 2-0, to the Philadelphia Sound on this night and while the play could have been better, the atmosphere was amazing.
FCCincinnati has surprised most soccer pundits by winning two of their first five games and earning seven points.
From their last season in the USL to this inaugural season in the MSL, FCCincinnati has provided soccer and sports fans something they have been longing.
The Reds have been in a downward spiral having not made the playoffs in the last five season although off-season moves have brought a renewed energy to the 2019 season.
The Bengals have not won a playoff game in the lifetime of many fans and the frustration pours out of most fans. A new coach has provided optimism even though it may be tempered.
The Cyclones are the best team in the EHL but being minor league hockey, they are unfortunately not receiving the media attention they deserve.
“We know that this is a long journey. We said that at the start. We won a few games and we certainly did not get carried away. We are very true to exactly what we need to do. We are building something,” said Koch.
While the coach knows that an expansion team will have its ups and downs in their first season and controls expectations for the on-field results, the crowd and atmosphere of professional soccer is at the top for MSL.
Enough so that the BBC Sport headed to Cincinnati to ask the question “Are these the best fans in MLS?” You can view their video at https://www.bbc.com/sport/av/football/47712560.
The British Broadcasting Company from across the pond, as they say it, who know soccer fans and has one of the best soccer leagues in the world, has noticed soccer in Cincinnati. They have noticed the soccer fans in Cincinnati.
Let that soak in for a second.
The country that rallies behind their soccer team like possibly no other has noticed the soccer fans in Cincinnati.
Do yourself a favor and make the trip to Nippert Stadium on the campus of University of Cincinnati and soak in the atmosphere.
Don’t worry about bringing headphones for your playlist on your smart phone. The fan clubs will be providing the sound track of the game.