U.S. women’s soccer team to play at Nippert Stadium

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This story originally ran for The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 7, 2017

If Cincinnati truly is on the forefront of soccer in this country, Futbol Club Cincinnati President and General Manager Jeff Berding wanted to make his message clear:

“There’s no backseat to the boys.”

On Friday morning at Nippert Stadium, Berding announced the reigning FIFA World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team will host New Zealand on Sept. 19 at Nippert in a friendly match. This will make the national team’s fourth visit to the city and first since 2008.

“We’ve had the opportunity to put Cincinnati on the national stage,” Berding said. “This is strong proof, soccer, our sport, strives in our city.” (continue reading here)

FC Cincinnati announces friendly with Spain’s Valencia CF

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This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 5, 2017

Spanish futbol is coming to Futbol Club Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati will host Valencia Club de Fútbol, better known as Valencia CF, in its summer international friendly this July, Cincinnati officials announced Monday.

The match is scheduled for Monday, July 24, at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. (continue reading here)

Carter shines in Ohio’s gloomy loss to Toledo

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taken by Carl Fonticella
This story originally ran in The Post on Jan. 25, 207

Jason Carter walked into the press conference and lowered his head.

Five minutes removed from the best night of his career — 20 points and seven rebounds in only his second start — Carter sat silently, frustrated with the only shot he’ll remember in Tuesday evening’s 79-76 loss to Toledo in The Convo.

With seven seconds remaining and midway through a broken play, Carter managed to slip free of his man and stood alone behind the 3-point line. His shot clanked off the back of the rim. The Bobcats never took another attempt.

“I just gotta get over it,” Carter said. “I can’t let it hang over me.”

Then Jaaron Simmons spoke up. “He’ll make the next one.” (continue reading here)

Despite late comeback, Ohio falls 29-23 to No. 17 Western Michigan in MAC Championship Game

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photo taken by Matt Starkey

DETROIT — Greg Windham kneeled alone at midfield, eyes glued to the turf. Behind him, the Western Michigan crowd roared.

His preseason dream was to win a conference championship. With 84 seconds left, Windham had 75 yards to end his team’s 48-year conference title drought.

And then it was stolen away.

In its best game this season, Ohio had its worst loss: a 29-23 defeat to No. 17 Western Michigan on Friday night in the Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship Game. (continue reading here)

Bobcats win but running back woes grow

Bo Hardy started the game as a safety. He ended the game as the Ohio leading rusher and likely the running back the team will utilize moving forward.

The move to offense wasn’t by choice. While Ohio comfortably cruised past Gardner-Webb 37-21 on Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium, running back woes only grew and left Frank Solich bleakly staring ahead in the press conference.

“Probably not,” he said about a having a position so depleted so quickly in his coaching career. “Probably not after four games. It’s just an oddity.”

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photo taken by Matt Starkey

It’s an oddity that needs a solution. (continue reading here)

Sebastian Smith: The not-so-secret offensive playmaker

Sebastian Smith wanted to issue a correction from a statement coach Frank Solich made last week.

In his weekly press conference, Solich said Smith wasn’t 100 percent healthy against Gardner-Webb, where Smith had six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

“If I wasn’t 100 percent, then I guess I was 99.9,” Smith joked.

The comment was only teasing his coach, but the remark reveals a lot about Smith’s character. (continue reading here)

Both sides of Bob Boldon

This story originally ran in The Post on March 31, 2014

There are two sides to Bob Boldon. One side is overly critical, blunt and could find flaws on the Mona Lisa.

Then there’s the other side, which, on a chilly spring morning, sits in his office smiling and says, “You don’t know what to do with all this optimism, do ya?”

During Boldon’s first season at the helm of the Ohio women’s basketball program, his team experienced both sides.

Boldon coached the youngest team he’s ever worked with, a team fresh off the worst season in Ohio history. (continue reading here)

FC Cincinnati: the third-tier US soccer team pulling in 20,000 fans a game

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photo courtesy of FC Cincinnati
This story originally ran in The Guardian on May 16, 2016

When Bjorn Knudsen talks, the whiskers from his eyebrows and beard poke out of his orange, full-body suit. When Knudsen walks, his father, Chip, holds him by his shoulders, helping him keep balance and walk straight.

“No curb,” Chip says when they cross a street, making sure Bjorn doesn’t stumble.

Bjorn, with a massive bass drum strapped to his chest, begins beating the drum while others are chanting. “How can you see the drum?” someone shouts.

Bjorn, Chip and 150 others are marching just under a mile from Mecklenburg Gardens, a quaint corner bar, toward Nippert Stadium — the home to what’s quickly becoming America’s most fascinating new club. (continue reading here)

Ohio loses Camellia Bowl on last-second field goal

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Midway through the third quarter, linebacker Jovon Johnson stripped an Appalachian State running back and ran into the end zone with his right arm stretched out in celebration.

Ohio was leading 24-7.

With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Johnson was crouched down, moments away from a Mountaineer walk-off field goal.

Ohio lost 31-29. (continue reading at The Post)

This story was published for The Post on Dec. 19, 2016.

Column: When “next year” is finally this year

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Arielle Berger | The Post

I was motionless. My hands covered my face. My eyes were glazed. My heart galloped.

I sat still for minutes, which felt like hours, after so many days and so many years.

Petrified. Through Kyrie’s shot. Through LeBron’s free throw. Through the horn sounding and ensuing celebration: Cleveland won a championship.

I wept. (continue reading at The Post) 

This story originally ran at The Post on June 20, 2016.