Omar Cummings: Cincinnati's Adopted Son

Halftime on Monday saw the end of a career for one of Cincinnati’s first soccer legends. Omar Cummings, the Jamaican-born footballer who calls Cincinnati his “adopted home” had announced on Saturday that he was hanging up his boots for the final time this season. This brings an end to a career that has seen him play at all levels of professional soccer, including USL, MLS, and international play. 

A heartfelt ceremony at midfield honored Cummings for his contributions to FC Cincinnati as a player who joined the club at the very beginning. Surrounded by his family, friends, and team owner Carl Lindner, Cummings received a standing ovation from the crowd of 23,114. A video highlighting his time with the club was played and he was presented with a framed jersey that he proudly raised over his head for the whole crowd to see.
Hailing from Old Harbour, Jamaica, Cummings began his soccer career at Old Harbour and Jonathan Grant High School. There, he was voted to the 2002 All-Manning Cup team and was a member of the 2001 Walker Cup championship team. From there, Cummings found his way to Cincinnati where he started his collegiate career playing for Cincinnati State from 2003-2005. While there, he was named an NJCAA All-American in 2004. He then spent the 2005-2007 seasons playing for the University of Cincinnati, where he helped lead the Bearcats to a Big East Title in 2006. Also during his stay at UC, he was a two-time All-Big East first-team selection and a two-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes region first-team honoree.
Cummings has had an interesting journey at the professional level. In 2007, he was drafted 31st overall by the Colorado Rapids. Soon after being drafted, he was already making strides at the professional level. He was voted Rookie of the Year by the Rapids in 2007 and scored two goals in 11 appearances. In 2008, he scored six goals and had four assists. His hard work was recognized in 2009 when he was named the team’s MVP with a total of eight goals and twelve assists, which had him tied for first place in the MLS for assists. He also sat at second place in the MLS with a total of 82 shots. In 2010, Cummings started in all four playoff games and played a major role in leading the Rapids to an MLS championship. His impressive performance led him to be named an MLS All-Star in 2011. In his final season with the Rapids in 2012, he scored an impressive six goals and had two assists. During his 2013-2014 stint with the Houston Dynamo, he scored the game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York. All-in-all, Cummings had a stellar career.
Perhaps the most important part of Omar’s impressive career is the time spent with his home country of Jamaica’s national team. He earned a total of 35 caps and scored a total of seven goals. He was also a member of the team that won the Digicel Caribbean Cup.
Eventually, though, Cummings found his way back to Cincinnati. He was one of the newly formed club’s first signings and one of the biggest. During his first season with the team in 2016, he scored three goals and had five assists in 16 games. He also scored a single-match high of three points against Saint Louis FC. His performance with FCC was recognized by USL when he was named to the Team of the Week twice. His final performance was against La Liga opponent Valencia CF on July 24th, 2017. He took the field in the second half and almost immediately drew a card against Valencia's Aymen Abdennour. He then left the game for the final time in the 74th minute, when he was replaced by Danni Konig.
While his time with FCC was short, Omar Cummings made an impact on the club and will be greatly missed by his teammates and the fans. He doesn’t have any plans to leave the club totally, though. He has indicated that he will stay on with the club in a full-time position while finishing his criminal justice degree. 

For the long term, he intends to stay in the city that he calls his second home. In an interview after the game, Cummings summed up his career and his final game: “Cincinnati has given me so much. To come back and finish my career in Cincinnati has been a joy. I’m happy.”