When FCC first started, I didn’t know a ton about soccer. I was just learning about the beautiful game as FCC started my sophomore year at UC. When I returned for year 3, I would discover that this awesome new professional soccer team was practicing out in the open and I could just walk up, have a seat, and watch. It ended up becoming one of my favorite things to do that fall. I remember in some of my super stressful times, I would give myself 30 minutes to go watch the team practice and it would always make me feel better. Most of the team started to recognize me and would come up and say hi after practice. I couldn’t decide if I was weird as hell or just a devoted fan, but by then, I didn’t care. John Harkes knew me and was fine with me being there.
When they announced that Harkes had been fired and was being replaced by Alan Koch, I was honestly kind of devastated. What if this new coach didn’t let me sit in Nippert and Gettler and watch the team during training? Honestly, it was a dumb thing to be concerned about. But it continued to be one of my favorite things to do. Amongst the Pride, there was a joke that I was the official Pride scout.
Last month, I graduated from UC. Many times I’ve thought of how I won’t get the chance to watch practice anymore and I get a little sad because it has been such a joy for me through my time at UC. I would go watch practice between classes or even days when I didn’t have to be on campus. I was always aware that most fans don’t get an opportunity like this and never took it for granted. Today I was faced with this even more. Soon, FCC will also be graduating from UC as far as training goes. Once they return from preseason in Florida and Charleston, the team will be moving training to their new training facility in Milford. Today, I got to go watch FCC’s first practice as an MLS squad. I stood there with the dumbest smile, realizing how much has changed these past 3 years. If you told me 3 years ago that I would get the chance to watch my favorite MLS team practice and that that MLS team would be in Cincinnati, I would’ve called you crazy. Being there today, I realized just how lucky we are. This club is incredible and they treat their fans so well. And it’s because of us fans that we are standing here today. The club and I are both moving onto bigger and better things and we all need to remember to not take that for granted.