"I want to introduce everyone to a new voice on the Blog: Mike Madanat! Mike reached out to me with an interest in writing for the Pride and so we've added him to the team. This introduction on Mike will kick off a little series of pieces from our new writers and myself on why we support, why we love soccer, and what drew us in to the Pride. I hope you enjoy Mike's work and join me in looking forward to more of his work!" - Kevin Wallace
Soccer entered my life at a very early age. My parents were born and raised in the Middle East and growing up, my father told me that him and his friends had to be creative with their enjoyment. He talked a lot about how soccer was more than just something to do; it was a part of his life. When my father was growing up, it was a luxury to have a soccer ball, let alone watch a game on tv. These times were far from our current days of watching USL games online for free.
My father mentioned that he never had a real soccer ball as a child. Him and his friends would make soccer balls out of whatever they could. No, their custom made soccer balls probably were not the official size and weight but it was not about that for them. It was about the love of the game.
When I was growing up, I was surrounded by soccer. You can imagine the excitement my father had once soccer became more and more exciting in the United States. My family made sure we had every channel available to watch soccer games. Every Sunday we would move our kitchen table into the living room and have breakfast there while watching whatever soccer game was on at the time; always Manchester United if they were playing.
I have seen soccer bring people of different religions and cultures together. I have also seen soccer create long-lasting relationships. For me, it’s done both. The Pride and FC Cincinnati has helped me create the foundation to many friendships that I believe I will have for a very long time. Having moved to Cincinnati in October of 2017, I knew no one. What I did know is that I was super excited to be able to support a soccer team that had so much excitement revolving around it.
As I stated before, I knew no one when I moved here but was excited to find that Cincy was a soccer city. There were bars that favored teams and always aired their games. I could not believe that. Where I lived before, there was no love for soccer at bars. After seeing that Rhinehaus was airing an Arsenal game, I messaged their Facebook account and asked if they knew of a spot I could watch Manchester United games. I was then directed to the one and only Jono Bregger. After watching some games at Molly Malone’s, I was told about The Pride.
What drew me to The Pride was how welcoming Jono was when I was first introduced to him. I was shocked at the hospitality from him, Max, Josh and the others I met over my time watching games at Molly Malone’s. I was then introduced to The Pride and was welcomed with open arms. To me, joining The Pride was a no brainer. I loved watching soccer and I had the opportunity to make new friends with like-minded individuals.
One thing I have noticed in my time in Cincinnati is that people are passionate about soccer and the love for FC Cincinnati is addicting. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to not only support such an exciting team at a very exciting time but also do so with some of the greatest individuals I have ever had the opportunity to befriend. For me, I joined The Pride to make some friends and watch some soccer but I have a feeling that it will lead to quite a bit more in the future. I look forward to my first FCC season and cheering them on with my brothers and sisters in The Bailey.