FC Cincinnati’s captain, their dynamo, their dominant midfielder, and future MVP has made Cincinnati his home. His brand-new, three-year contract extension solidifies that and means he will lead The Orange and Blue until at least 2026.
But Luciano Acosta already knew that. A contract extension is a definitive stamp on it, but the love he has for this city, this club, the fans, the staff … the people, that is not something created out of just a contract, it’s a connection he feels in his heart and soul.
“This city, for me, means a lot,” Acosta, the MLS MVP front runner said in an exclusive interview with FCCincinnati.com. “Lots of love. This city for me is a family, this club for me is a family, the fans are a family for me. And the truth is, I am very happy to create memories and continue creating memories for this club.”
Acosta came to FC Cincinnati at the beginning of the 2021 season and has helped change the culture of the club under his captaincy. Taking them from finishing last in the MLS table for the third season in a row, to earning a playoff spot for the first time, to putting The Orange and Blue in position to win their first MLS trophy all in just three short years.
“Lucho is a tremendously important player for our team and our club,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati general manager in the announcement. “He’s clearly one of the best players in our league, capable of producing the spectacular moments that win you games. His winning mentality, along with his continued growth as a leader and a captain, have allowed Lucho to become the best version of himself. It’s apparent how connected he feels to our city and community, and we’re proud to have Lucho representing FC Cincinnati.”
Since joining the club, Acosta has etched himself into the record books, becoming the club's leading scorer in MLS play as well as leading in assists, shots, fouls suffered, corner kicks, and free kicks. ‘Lucho’ is the lynchpin for success for The Orange and Blue.
With plenty of doubters along the way, Acosta has overcome his critics. Many in his native Argentina considered his size as a reason he could not succeed, others simply believed he was not good enough, the midfielder remembers. But he always believed. He overcame the doubt and credits Cincinnati, both as a club and as a city, for helping him reach that potential, citing the comfort he and his family feel in the city as a direct pathway to success.
“You feel very happy, you feel like you are at home,” Acosta said about living in Cincinnati. “When you feel at home, it is very nice, because you feel safe, you feel that everything is going to turn out well, and you have that happiness inside. Your heart is filled with being there. It’s a place where you always want to be.”
The captain of the club since 2021, Acosta has thrived since being handed the captain’s armband. Part of the Argentine superstar's development has been growing into the role, which he feels has helped mature him along the way.
Prior to FCC, Acosta had never been the captain of a club before, but he took the role seriously so as to lead the team and grow alongside it.
“It was a very big challenge for me,” Acosta said. “Today I think I have grown a lot being captain, and I feel very proud to be the captain of this team, of this club, of my teammates.
“The truth is that I am very happy and very grateful to all of them for having to put up with a difficult captain like me. The truth is that I feel very happy and very proud to represent this city as captain.”
An undeniable, essential part of Acosta’s life is his family. They support and celebrate each other at every turn and are rarely seen apart. His wife and children are staples at TQL Stadium and the first people the captain looks for to celebrate big moments. While many moments come to mind, him saying “all the moments” are his favorites in Orange and Blue, the midfielder specifically highlights the first time he was able to celebrate a goal with his family as his favorite memory with FC Cincinnati.
That moment helps represent a larger theme though. The merging of Acosta’s family with the city. He now proudly claims all of Cincinnati not only as his home, but as his family. And there’s no one he’d rather celebrate with than his family.
“This club is very special,” Acosta said. “It’s my family because every time I go out on the field, I give my life for this city, for these fans, for these colors, for this club. That is what makes it so special for me because the truth is that they are my family.
“Creating memories in this stadium has been great,” he added while sitting in the upper decks of TQL Stadium for this interview. “With my family, with my wife, with my children. The truth is that it has been very rewarding. I feel very proud every time I go out and I can celebrate a goal, they accompany me after each game and when we enter the stadium. They are memories that will remain forever with me and with them, too.”
The memories now will only continue to grow, and Lucho wants all who support him to know that he will fight for them, and that his goals remain clear: to bring glory to the club, and make its supporters proud.
“I have always dreamed of a moment like this. All my life I have dreamed, since I was very young, of having the possibility of being in a great club with a great family, and today this is how I feel.”
In the Thursday morning edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Acosta took out a full page ad to thank his chosen family in Cincinnati and tell them directly how he feels about his home.
“I only have words of gratitude to the fans, to all those people who are there shouting ‘Lucho Acosta.’ The truth is that I only have to say thank you, and in every game, like I said, I go out for you and play for you and represent you.
“I hope in the future that we will spend much more time together. I hope in the future to win many things with this team, with this city, and give you the joy that the fans give us all the time, every weekend, every day and return that love with a title.”