Green, Orange, St. Patrick's Day, and FC Cincinnati's Home Opener

February 15, 2019

Green, Orange, St. Patrick's Day, and FC Cincinnati's Home Opener

FC Cincinnati makes its Major League Soccer (MLS) home opener on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, of this year. We, of course, have a shirt for that. But wait--- an orange shirt on St. Patrick’s Day? What gives? Everyone knows green is the color of St. Patrick’s Day. Green, however, is also the color of FC Cincinnati’s first opponent in their inaugural MLS season.

The Portland Timbers franchise traces its roots back to 1975 and the original North American Soccer League (NASL). They folded in 1982, three years before the rest of the league closed up shop. Since the original Timbers went under, three subsequent teams have used the name, including the current MLS side. Green, albeit in slightly different shades, has been the main color used by each incarnation of the Timbers.

That presented a problem round these parts. Opening Day 2019 for FC Cincinnati falls on St. Patrick’s Day, as we noted, the day when everyone is supposed to where green, the very colors of our first opponent.

FC Cincinnati’s colors are, of course, are blue and orange. Now, in addition to green, orange is one of the colors of the Irish flag. Maybe that was the solution. That, however, seemed to be controversial. But was it really?

The Irish flag contains three colors, green, white, and orange. The green represents the Catholic majority, the orange is for the Protestant minority, while the white between them signifies their coexistence. In recent years, it has been reasoned, mostly by partisan websites, that on St. Patrick’s Day green is for Catholics and orange is for Protestants. It’s unclear what other folks who want to participate, such as those that are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc., are supposed to do.

Indeed, for years Protestants honoring William of Orange, the man that paved the way for British rule of the island for centuries, have marched in so-called orange walks. In Northern Ireland, not surprisingly, these were quite contentious and seen by Catholics as confrontational. That has lessened in recent years.

A few things to keep in mind here. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Catholic-dominated Ireland, but he is also venerated in, among other churches, the Anglican Communion (he was a Romano-British Christian). Also, orange is in the Irish flag and is there for peaceful reasons. 

So, back to soccer. Opening Day for FC Cincinnati is a special day, especially the team’s very first Opening Day in MLS. It deserves a unique shirt, and as most of the team gear is blue with orange trim, it was determined that reversing that scheme was the way to go, instead of the traditional green of St. Patrick’s Day, and the dreaded Portland Timbers. “There's no way we'd print a shirt on a color of an opposing team for our first game,” said Cincy Shirts co-founder Darin Overholser, “or any game.”

Happy Opening Day AND Happy St. Patrick’s Day FC fans!

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