Mayor John Cranley announced the Queen City Cup Challenge at a press conference held today at the FC Cincinnati offices. The Queen City Cup Challenge, a friendly wager with Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte, North Carolina, was created to demonstrate support for each city’s respective professional soccer team.
“This is exciting,” said Mayor John Cranley. “Soccer is the future of American sports and Cincinnati is going to be at the forefront. Not every city will have a professional soccer team and the fact that we have FC Cincinnati is huge. I want to thank Mayor Roberts for being such a good sport.”
“We have been committed from the start to being another jewel in the crown of the Queen City,” said Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati President and General Manager. “As Charlotte also refers to itself as the Queen City, creating the Queen City Cup Challenge with their general manager [Jim McPhilliamy] seemed a natural opportunity to spread the goodwill of soccer between our two cities.”
The trophy, unveiled at the press conference, was created by Pete Witte of Baron Identification Products. Silver-plated and Italian-made, the cup stands at 21-and-a-half inches tall and the name of the winning club each year will be added to its base. Along with claiming the trophy for the year, the Mayor representing the losing club will serve lunch at a local homeless shelter wearing the opposing team’s jersey.
The home-and-home series will be decided on a point system with three points awarded for a win, one point for a draw with no points awarded for a loss. In the event of a tie following the second game of the series, aggregate scoring will come into play with the team with the most goals scored winning the series. If both teams are tied on points and goals scored, the team with the most road goals will claim the cup.
FC Cincinnati will host Charlotte Independence in its inaugural home game, Apr. 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Nippert Stadium with the series concluding in North Carolina at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex, May 21.
FCC also introduced the Youth Soccer Community Days initiative with both Oswald Company and AssureCare signing on as sponsors. Youth Soccer Community Days invites all youth soccer players in the tristate area, wearing a soccer jersey, to attend FCC’s first two home games on Apr. 9 and Apr. 16 for just $1 per ticket.
“Our youth soccer players will be able to come to our games, watch high-level soccer and see role models in their own backyard at Nippert Stadium,” said Berding.
“When the opportunity to partner with FC Cincinnati came up, I didn’t hesitate,” said Ken Oswald, founder of Oswald Company. “As a single father of two sons, soccer was an important part of my life and theirs. Being active in youth soccer, they were taught discipline, teamwork, confidence, to persevere and to deal with adversity. It was a wonderful experience and I strongly believe that youth soccer is important for all our children.”
“AssureCare is privileged to have partnered with FC Cincinnati and we feel proud to sponsor the Youth Soccer Community Days,” said Dr. Yousuf Ahmad, CEO of AssureCare. “As a healthcare organization, we encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle and it is our collective responsibility as a society to enable our youth towards participating in such a wonderful activity. As a kid who grew up playing soccer, I know that it not only helps one stay healthy and active, but also builds character and instills a strong sense of teamwork.”
Youth Soccer Community Days is FCC’s newest endeavor to introduce professional soccer to the youth of the Greater Cincinnati area. FC Cincinnati introduced the Giveback program earlier this year to help support local soccer organizations. Fans, who create a ticket account, can associate themselves with a club or SAY program. Twenty-percent of all full-priced tickets purchased will be donated back to those organizations at the end of the year and provide support for needs such as equipment, uniforms or scholarships.
“SAY Soccer and our member clubs are excited to be part of the youth soccer Giveback program,” said Doug Wood, National Executive Director. “FC Cincinnati has created a rare and unique opportunity to promote youth soccer in the tristate area while giving back to their fan base.”
FC Cincinnati opens the season this Saturday against Charleston Battery at 7:30 p.m. at the MUSC Health Stadium.