After entering the Major Soccer League (MLS) in 2019, FC Cincinnati became the region's newest professional sports team. In a short time the team has gained worldwide recognition, as well as a passionate and loyal fanbase. 

 

FC Cincinnati FansCredit: FC Cincinnati

History of The Crest

When FC Cincinnati was admitted into Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2019, the club introduced a newly designed crest, featuring nods to the region's German influence and unique culture. The crest features a crowned and winged lion wielding a sword. 

  • The winged lion (AKA "Gary"): bold, strong, ready for battle! Represents the club's winning spirit
  • Crown: a nod to the Queen City
  • Seven points on the lion's mane: the seven hills of Cincinnati
  • Three feathers on the lion's wing: the club's three-year journey to MLS
  • Lion's tail curled into a "C": Cincinnati!

The crest's primary colors, blue and orange, remain consistent with the team's traditional colors, representing the pride and energy of both the team and its supporters.

 

Hell is RealCredit: FC Cincinnati

Hell is Real Derby History

“Hell is Real” is what the rivalry between FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew is called, a nod to an iconic highway billboard on I-71 located in between both cities. 

The teams first met in the fourth round of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup before FC Cincinnati joined MLS in 2019. In that match FC Cincinnati beat Columbus 1-0 on a goal from Djiby, knocking Columbus out of the tournament and advancing to the quarterfinals. So the rivalry began!

There have been 14 total meetings of the two teams. The Crew have won 7 of those matches to FC Cincy’s 3 victories and there have been 4 draws. In 2023 the two teams met for the first time in the MLS Cup Playoffs. 

Side note: The two teams’ MLS Next Pro affiliates, FC Cincinnati 2 and Columbus Crew 2, parody “Hell is Real” for their matches and use the name “Heck is Plausible”.

 

Lucian AcostaCredit: FC Cincinnati

MLS Awards

FC Cincinnati claimed seven year-end awards.

  • Luciano “Lucho” Acosta - Landon Donovan MLS MVP
  • Pat Noonan - Coach of the Year
  • Matt Miazga - Defender of the Year
  • Luciano “Lucho” Acosta - MLS Goal of the Year (Decided by Fan Votes)
  • Roman Celentano - MLS Save of the Year (Decided by Fan Votes)
  • Lucho Acosta & Matt Miazga - MLS Best XI (Highlights a starting lineup of the best players from the regular season.)

FC Cincinnati won the Supporters Shield for the first time in club history on September 30, 2023, with three matches still to play. Cincinnati is the 16th different club in MLS’ 28 seasons to win the Supporters’ Shield and the fifth active team to do so in its first five seasons in the league. The achievement is made even more notable given that in its first three seasons in the league (between 2019 and 2021) Cincinnati finished as the worst team in MLS, earning the “the wooded spoon award”.

 

FC Cincinnati Shield

The Supporters Shield is awarded annually to the team with the most regular-season points. Points are awarded by winning (3 points) or drawing (1 point) during a match. The trophy was created by the fans and is given to supporter groups, not the club.

The trophy is steeped in traditions, charitable aims, and other quirks. It is truly a trophy by supporters, and for supporters, and it's unlike any other professional sports team. The first iteration was in the shape of a chevron but the Supporters Shield we know today is approximately 35 pounds of silver and steel fashioned in a disc shape. The names of each regular-season champion are engraved on the Shield, including the names of the handful of clubs to finish first in the standings before the first trophy was introduced. The Shield gets passed on each time a different club finishes first but it's the supporters of the teams - not the clubs or league officials - that do the passing, along with housing the trophy. 

An organization called the Independent Supporters Council (ISC), and more specifically the ISC’s Supporters’ Shield Foundation board, manages and administers the awarding of the trophy, along with its well-being. When it's time for the Shield to change hands, the trophy is mailed from one ISC-affiliated group to the next one. Including the case it is shipped in, the weight of the package (which is insured) is close to 80 pounds, and the local supporters’ groups that are ISC members would then become the guardians of the trophy.

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