New league, new lion.
As FC Cincinnati prepares to kick off its first Major League Soccer season March 2, the team today officially unveiled its new mascot. He is orange. He is feline. He is plush. His mane, nose and wingtips (yes, he has wings) are blue — we're not sure if that's natural or a dye job. None of our business, really.
And oh yeah, his name is Gary.
Why Gary? Apparently, FC Cincinnati fans saw that name spelled out in the stylized lion on the team's crest. And so they spoke it, or really, tweeted it, I guess, into existence.
Not that Gary was born in a day. No, it took five months to call forth this friendly, blue-haired soccer beast. Chicago-based AMAZING!! Mascots designed him with help from FC Cincinnati Vice President of Communications Kate Solomon.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Gary to the FC Cincinnati family,” Solomon said in a statement. “He is a bright, cheery force of nature that is a perfect reflection of our fans’ presence in the Queen City. Further, with our club pillar of being active and visible in the community, Gary provides us another way to further our connection to our fans — especially children and younger fans. We can’t wait to see him out and about and spreading the FCC fun around the region.”
You can see him out and about on the concourse level of Nippert Stadium during home games, and in the Kid's Zone on Sheakley Field prior to game time.
You'll have to wait just a bit to meet Gary, though. The team starts its season in Seattle and won't play its first home game until March 17, when it faces off against the Portland Timbers at 5 p.m.