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 Bregger.
"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."