We always want to give our members a platform to have their voices heard. We asked some of our most active members to tell us why they chose to become Pride Members.
- Our first Member Spotlight comes from one of the Maestros of The Bailey: Max Ellerbe.
I joined The Pride to help build on the momentum of what had already been created. In my first few games sitting at midfield, it was awe-inspiring to see what had come together in the Bailey in such a short amount of time. What I was seeing was not a mistake, nor an accident; but rather, it was the result of a hard work, passion and dedication. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of, but I also wanted to find my own niche within the group.
Having a musical background, I felt I could add to the experience by strengthening the Bailey’s voice through work on the songs, chants, and drumming. My goal is to keep the Bailey rocking from the first whistle to the last (and beyond), ensuring that FC Cincinnati has the best support in the league. The rest of the stadium looks to the Bailey for energy, and I want to help make sure they can always find it. By joining the Pride, I feel I was able to help keep building the incredibly special thing we have going as supporters.
What we do in the Bailey can have an impact on the future of this club. We are showing, with every clip, with every headline, and with every news publication, that Cincinnati is serious about this team and the goal Carl Linder set of bringing MLS soccer to Cincinnati. As a member of The Pride, I can be a part of creating the atmosphere that brings even more people together and brings us closer to that goal. As a lifelong Cincinnatian, that prospect alone is motivation enough.
If you haven’t joined a supporters group, I strongly suggest The Pride.
- Our second Member Spotlight comes from one of our most energetic members, Jono
I’ve been around the game of soccer my whole life, both as a player and a spectator. Unfortunately, after high school, it became more difficult. After my competitive days ended at age 18, I was no longer able to surround myself regularly with people who love soccer. Let’s be honest, the people in most bars (other than Molly Malone’s) are going to give you a blank stare when you ask to put a match on TV. That’s why, when I heard that Cincinnati was getting a true professional soccer team, my eyes lit up. The prospect of going to professional soccer games in my hometown excited me, but I had no idea what kind of community I was going to become a part of.
Late in March, after some Googling and Facebooking, I stumbled upon “The Pride.” Honestly, I wasn’t too familiar with supporters group culture prior to joining the Pride (Insert Green Street Hooligans reference here), so I had no idea what to expect. What I saw was a bunch of people who liked soccer and got together to hangout and watch matches together. Sold. Even still, I won’t lie, I was apprehensive about heading to my first Tifo night. Who are these people? Are they going to be hooligans or jerks? Will I have anything in common with them, other than the fact that we like soccer? I came to my first Tifo night with a 12 pack of beer and a smile on my face. Immediately, I was welcomed with open arms.
In the four short months since joining the Pride, I have made amazing friendships with people I would not have known if not for The Pride. I’ve joined a welcoming community that is crazy about soccer, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Whether we’re hanging out Wednesday night painting tifos and working on chants, meeting at Molly Malone’s for away matches, or cheering on our boys in the Bailey, I always look forward to an event with my friends in The Pride. If you like making new friends, watching soccer with friends, and representing The Queen City, come hang out and join up with The Pride.
- Our third Member Spotlight comes from one of our founding members, Brendan O'Brien
I’m part of the generation that grew up playing soccer. There is home video of just-learned-how-to-walk Brendan stumbling over a soccer ball and knocking it into a mini goal from close range (fitting, since throughout my 20-odd year playing career, I didn’t often score from outside the 6). I grew up watching the sport too. I’m from Cleveland, and the Crunch were an indoor soccer powerhouse in the 90’s when I was growing up. My first sports heroes were all local soccer players: Otto Orf, Hector Marinaro, Zorin Karic (FCC equivalencies being Hildebrandt, Okoli and McLaughlin).
But if you didn’t grow up with the chance to support local, you have to make “the leap” at some point. Whether it’s conscious or not, at some moment, you decide “I’m going be a fan of this team.” For many people in the United States, many who are perennial fans of the Big 4 US Sport,s they first have to make a similar jump to want to learn about and follow the game of soccer. Most people who follow and cheer for soccer teams in other parts of the world can probably tell you about their leap. “I follow Manchester United because…” or “I’m a Zlatan guy and then I just stuck with Inter” or the ever-popular “They’re my FIFA team” (As if Real Madrid needed more fans). I can tell you about my leap to my team in the EPL, but that’s a story for another day.
This is all just to give you some background on why The Pride matters so much to me. Soccer is a wonderful game to watch and learn, and I want everyone to be fearless when they make that leap to learn the game and learn to support their own local team. When the Pride started, we decided we wanted to be totally and utterly welcoming – we wanted our role to be bringing as many people along as possible and growing the game here in Cincinnati and the United States.
So make the leap, we’re here and we can’t wait to catch you and have you join up with us. We want to welcome everyone to the beautiful game here in Cincinnati and welcome everyone to The Pride.
- Our final spotlight (for now) comes from Bailey Mom, Lisa Hollon, who offers her take on why she became an FC Cincinnati supporter and why she joined The Pride:
Happy Palace Weekend! Before you head out to the Crystal Ball at Rhinegeist tonight, check out our latest Member Spotlight, this time from our own Lisa Hollon, who offers her take on why she became an FC Cincinnati supporter and why she joined The Pride:Joseph and I grew up in Cincinnati, but we had both been living in Louisville for the past five years. I am the sports fanatic in our house, and Joseph is kind enough to indulge me. When we moved back to Cincinnati in January, I heard about the new soccer team in town and immediately knew I wanted to get season tickets. We were in Louisville (booooo!) when Lou City started, and we didn't jump on that opportunity, but here we were able to be a part of an inaugural season and something potentially huge for this city. We had no idea just what an understatement that would be.
Once our ticket order had been placed, I started haunting the FC Cincinnati website, and that's when we learned about The Pride. I signed us up online that night and we got to meet everyone for the first time at the team meet-and-greet at Rhinegeist. We were immediately met with a group of people who were welcoming, friendly, and just hyped about the potential for this team. The excitement was just infectious. In fact, it was so infectious that by game three, Joseph had bought a drum on Craigslist. You may now recognize him as the "guy on the snare drum" helping to lead The Bailey in chants and songs, with me his "soccer-crazed" wife alongside him. He wasn't a big sports fan before, but he has gone all-in on this sport and this team.
So here we are mid season, and the club has not begun to disappoint. The team is winning, everywhere around the city people are talking about soccer -- and (no pun intended) the pride I feel in knowing we're a part of that is incredible. We are the 12th man. The Pride has been such an integral part in turning this city into a soccer city, and that can't be underestimated. Not to sound sappy or cliche but when we bought our season tickets we thought we were just going to go watch some soccer, but we ended up getting so much more. Joining a supporters group has meant that suddenly we spend every weekend with amazing people who have now become good friends. This has been the most fun summer we've had in a long time, and that's because of our SGs and the people who are a part of this incredible experience.