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The self-described “Chapter Two” for Futbol Membership Cincinnati had a a lot starker opening than chapter one. 

Final Wednesday, Jeff Berding, the membership’s president and basic supervisor, gathered media members on the membership’s Downtown workplaces and stated FC Cincinnati was shifting ahead. Chapter One ended when the club lost 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first round of the United Soccer League Playoffs. 

It was a chapter of unexpected successes, where Cincinnati went from a town averaging roughly 100 people per match for a fourth-division team to treating a third-division team as the newest sensation, with crowds hovering above 21,000 by the end of the second season. 

Big attendance numbers and high-profile friendly guests are no longer a phenomenon. They’re the standard. The playing too, Berding said, needed to become more competitive. There was an injection of investment and enthusiasm.

FC Cincinnati’s remarkable 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run largely masked a season of struggle, where roster tinkering was constant.

Never in the top four in the USL Eastern Conference – after finishing third in 2016 – this past season left a first-year coach saying he squeezed everything he could out of a roster, while also never fully embracing one constant approach to tactics. 

Cincinnati had enough success to prove it’s one of the country’s hotbeds for soccer. It also had enough setbacks to reveals the approach to next season needed a significant overhaul.

So that’s background to Chapter Two’s beginning, where the opening setting was at the club’s headquarters.

It began with Berding listing the returning players for 2018 – nine of them – and the 17 others either released or still unsigned for future participation.

The new era is based on a hope rather than a certainly. 

No longer a new club, the fate…