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FC Cincinnati confirmed as Major League Soccer side for 2019

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the team who currently play in the second tier United Soccer League would join the league from 2019.

Published: 30th May 2018 01:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2018 01:27 PM   |  A+A-

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber speaks during an event to announce the addition of FC Cincinnati as an MLS expansion team. | AP

By AFP

LOS ANGELES: FC Cincinnati were confirmed as the 26th team in Major League Soccer on Tuesday after being named as the league's latest expansion franchise.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the team who currently play in the second tier United Soccer League would join the league from 2019.

"Major League Soccer is proud to introduce Cincinnati as our 26th team," Garber said.

"The rise of Cincinnati as a passionate soccer market in recent years, coinciding with the city's growing economy and reputation as a top destination for young professionals makes it an ideal city for our growing league."

The team currently plays its games at the Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, regularly drawing crowds of around 20,000. 

However the club will eventually move to a new purpose-built soccer stadium in Cincinnati's West End, most likely in time for the 2021 season.

FC Cincinnati are owned by insurance tycoon Carl H. Lindner III, the chief executive of American Financial Group, owner of Great American Insurance.

"We congratulate Carl Lindner and his partners, and also the soccer fans of Cincinnati, who have passionately supported FC Cincinnati in the USL," Garber said at an official announcement.

FC Cincinnati have drawn increasingly impressive numbers of fans in recent seasons, with more than 32,000 attending a semi-final game of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last year.

Cincinnati's arrival continues the rapid expansion of MLS, which has welcomed 16 new clubs since 2005.

Nashville and Miami have also been named as expansion teams recently meaning that MLS is only two shy of its target of 28 teams.

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