On a picturesque late November day, FC Cincinnati experienced yet another memorable series of moments in the club's young history.
A debut season spent toppling attendance records, breaking preconceived notions and making a mark on the pitch earned the fledgling club scores of admirers. Supporters numbers swelled on the backs of not just traditional fans, but those new to the beautiful game as well. A city long considered a "baseball town" and "NFL city" was now getting coverage by local, national and international press as the country's newest "soccer town". And an attractive style of play with highlight reel moments -- orchestrated by a legendary American soccer figure -- pushed Cincinnati even further into professional soccer's consciousness.
And, because of all of that, among those taking notice were the executives at Major League Soccer's headquarters in New York. It was only logical that they did, but that FCC were able to capture their attention within just 15 months of the club's launch was surprising despite the achievements we've unlocked.
So a visit was arranged for MLS commissioner Don Garber to come and see what all of the fuss was about.
That day turned out to be last Tuesday, and what a day it was.
And now you can relive that day -- from the morning at Lunken Airport to the evening town hall at Woodward Theater -- as we recap the day in pictures.
The morning started with an early morning flight on Carl Lindner's jet into Cincinnati's Lunken Airport. And it was at the small landing strip to the east of downtown Cincinnati that Garber received his first welcome from the club's passionate supporters. Over one hundred members of the community turned out at 8am on just the second work day after the Thanksgiving weekend to welcome the commissioner in style the moment he set foot in our city.
After the raucous greeting at the airport, Garber -- along with Dan Courtemanche and Charles Altcheck from the league office -- were whisked off to a quick coffee and light breakfast at the top of Great American Tower with members of FC Cincinnati's ownership team. Those in attendance alongside Carl Lindner III included Jeff Berding, Scott Farmer, Steve Hightower, George Joseph, David and Blake Thompson, and Jack Wyant.
Following the morning meeting downtown, the group moved up town to Clifton to help Garber get better acquainted with our home at the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium. The tour began with a quick helicopter tour of the area to illustrate how Nippert fits in the city's geography and infrastructure.
Upon landing, the tour group was joined by UC Athletic Director Mike Bohn and FC Cincinnati's VP of Sales and Ticketing Jeff Smith and Head Coach John Harkes for a walk through of Nippert Stadium's facilities. But before that began, he was again boisterously greeted by another crowd -- this time over two-hundred strong -- of our loyal supporters.
After another lunch session back at Great American Tower with some of the city's business leaders, both Don Garber and FC Cincinnati supporters spent a great afternoon around town.
Things got started with a stop at FC Cincinnati's downtown offices to meet with city and county officials and civic leaders who would be joining Garber's party on the tour around town. And first on their agenda was a chance to tap and sample a keg of FCC's new Imperial Blood Orange IPA at Moerlein Lager House. Further visits on the look around the Queen City included Washington Park, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Cintrifuse before eventually meeting back up with the supporters at Rhinehaus before their march to the town hall.
The main event of the MLS delegation's trip to Cincinnati was the 4pm town hall event hosted at Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine. Following the debut of the club's 2016 season highlight video and a pumping up of the crowd by Coach John Harkes, GM Jeff Berding and special guest emcee Taylor Twellman, Commissioner Garber took to the stage to take questions from the packed crowd.
Before the commissioner and his team left town, they were treated to one last surprise... a lighting up of the city that included an orange crown on Great American Tower and the Cincinnati Convention Center lit up in FCC orange and blue.