Soccer’s History in Columbus

Whether you call it soccer or football, Columbus is part of the birth of a sport growing in popularity over the past 30 years. It boasts many firsts in the sport and is foundational in the growth at the youth level.


Fast Facts | Local Teams | Notable People | Venues | Timeline | Blogs

Major Events Hosted

Upcoming Events

Dos a Cero

The USA Men’s National Team’s beat the Mexico National Team four times in a row by a 2-0 score line in Columbus.

Hell is Real

A major MLS rivalry pits two of Ohio’s biggest cities against each other twice a year. The Crew are 6-4-2 vs. FC Cincinnati.

Women’s World Cup

In 2003, Columbus hosted three World Cup matches, including a USWNT win vs. North Korea 3-0.

Fast Facts


  • Columbus not only made history with the first soccer-specific stadium in the USA but became the first city in the country to build two soccer-specific stadiums with the opening of Field in the summer of 2021.

  • Columbus has hosted the MLS All-star game twice and will host again in 2024

  • In 1995, Major League Soccer announced the Columbus Crew as the first team in the league, but pro soccer’s been in Ohio’s capital since 1979, with the Columbus Magic of the American Soccer League.

  • Field not only hosts the pro game but the OHSAA high school championships. In 2022, it also hosted the Big Ten women’s soccer tournament, becoming a premier location for soccer in the city, state and region.

  • The USMNT has a 10-1-3 record in Columbus, which is the best record for any city that's hosted at least 10 matches. That includes nine World Cup qualifier wins in Columbus, the most of any city. 

  • The USWNT are also stellar in Cbus, going 9-1-1 across all competitions.


Local Teams

The Crew have won two MLS Cups, three Supporters’ Shields, the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup. Off the field, supporters withstood a major challenge when they helped Save the Crew from relocation in 2018. In 2022, Crew 2 debuted in MLS NEXT Pro and won the development league's first title.

While not the same soccer as you’ll see at Field, fans stretch their love of the sport to futsal courts. Played indoors, the game has some of the same aspects of soccer. Columbus Futsal features youth, men’s and women’s teams. They’ve been a staple of the futsal community since 2006.

Below the ranks of Columbus pro soccer is a strong layer of amateur teams for former HS and college athletes. On the women’s side are the Columbus Eagles. Part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League, the longest-running women’s soccer league in the United States, the Eagles started in 2014.

The Columbus area features six universities surrounding the city. That rangers from Ohio State's men's and women’s teams in NCAA Division I down to Division III sides like Westerville’s Otterbein University and Columbus’ Capital University.


Ohio State men’s team plays its first match


The Columbus Magic debut in the American Soccer League

Load More

Lamar Hunt

He helped found MLS and was integral in getting Historic Crew Stadium built. His statute sits inside the gates there today.

Brian McBride

The MLS Inaugural Draft No. 1 pick scored the first goal in Crew history and has a place in the club’s Circle of Honor.

Sigi Schmid

In 2008, Schmid led Columbus to its most successful season in club history, winning the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.

Nichelle Prince

Prince tallied 27 goals and 20 assists at OSU. She now plays for the NWSL's Houston Dash and won two medals with Team Canada.

Soccer Stories on our Blog