CINCINNATI – Cincinnati FC hopes to christen their West End stadium with a home game in May, club president Jeff Berding announced on Thursday afternoon.
When in May He is not sure. Major League Soccer hasn’t released their upcoming season schedule yet, and neither team has exact dates for any of its games.
“In mid-May we will open the West End Stadium, the crown jewel of an emerging Cincinnati,” wrote Berding in a press release. “Our new home was built by Cincinnati for Cincinnati, and we can’t wait!”
The team will hold an official stadium open day on May 1st and a special event for season ticket holders the following day.
The $ 250 million, 26,000-seat stadium opened in late 2018 after a high-speed campaign for local government approval in Cincinnati and Hamilton Counties. The team, which was part of the United Soccer League at the time and played at Nippert Stadium, argues that without a football-specific stadium it would not be accepted into Major League Soccer – the highest and most profitable level of professional men’s football in the United States.
Local officials would eventually approve the project, but resistance came when the team announced their intention to locate the stadium in the West End neighborhood.
Proponents of the West End community said they fear building a Major League Soccer stadium would damage the surrounding community, which is largely black and low-income, by forcing long-time residents to provide facilities for the workers and fans of the FC Cincinnati to create.
The team eventually compromised with representatives from the West End and secured a location on Central Parkway.