Photo: Francisco Huerta Jr.
TQL Stadium in Cincinnati's West End
Get ready, soccer fans — the new season is just around the corner.
FC Cincinnati released its 2022 pre-season schedule
this week, noting that additional matches may be scheduled. Right now, there are five matches on the docket.
FC Cincinnati will play USF on Jan. 28, followed by Philadelphia Union on Feb. 3, in Clearwater, Florida. The team will return to Cincinnati for a respite before heading back to Clearwater for a match against Saint Louis City SC on Feb. 11 and an unnamed opponent on Feb. 15. The orange and blue then will move to Orlando to play Orlando City SC on Feb. 18.
Regular-season play is scheduled to begin Feb. 26, the earliest-ever start to a Major League Soccer season. FC Cincinnati will battle Austin FC on the road.
The team's home opener will be March 5 against D.C. United. See the full schedule.
In other FC Cincinnati news, Jeff Berding has been promoted this week from club president to co-CEO
. In his new role, Berding will join Charles Linder III as co-CEO and as president of FC Cincinnati Holdings, a release says.
Berding's priorities will include "expanding fan engagement, winning the World Cup bid and other major soccer events, growing revenue, attracting events to TQL Stadium, maximizing sports betting commercial opportunities, overseeing development around TQL Stadium, enhancing content production, exploring opportunities for facility expansion, leading consideration of a Women’s Team and other potential developments to come in the future," the release says.
FC Cincinnati had seen upheaval during its 2021 campaign, particularly as it lost 12 games in a row at the end of the season
. Former general manager Gerard Nijkamp departed in August
, and the club released former head coach Jaap Stam and two assistant coaches on Sept. 27
. Chris Albright, formerly the technical director for the Philadelphia Union, came aboard as the team's new general manager
in October. FC Cincinnati added Pat Noonan, former assistant coach for the LA Galaxy, as head coach
In October, Cincinnati welcomed FIFA and U.S. Soccer
as officials toured Paul Brown Stadium, soccer training facilities, hospitality venues and Fan Fest location options. Cincinnati is one of 17 U.S. cities vying to host a 2026 World Cup match
. Officials expect that 10-11 cities will be chosen in early 2022.
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