There’s no question that FC Cincinnati(FCC) is the city’s new sports darling. After meeting with Corben Bone, a team midfielder, it’s easy to see why. We met at Maplewood where we sipped on roasted brewed beans, exchanged podcast series and book titles, and talked shoe obsessions, fatherhood, the dismal house market (if you’re buying), and a little bit about soccer. Like me, Corben enjoys Gretchen Rubin from the Happiness Project. Instead of annual resolutions, Gretchen sets one word manifestos each year. I asked Corben to share his one word manifestos for some of the most important aspects of his life.
Cincinnati wasn’t always home. In fact, Corben has bounced around quite a bit. He grew up in Plano, Texas, with a soccer playing father, in a home 5 minutes away from a youth soccer compound. In high school, his love for soccer was eclipsed only by his love for basketball. After coming to grips with the fact that his 5’9” frame is better equipped for the field than the court, he committed to play soccer at Wake Forest. In 2010, he was picked 13th overall in the MLS draft by the Chicago Fire. After playing in Chicago for four years, he moved on to Philadelphia, and then to Wilmington, and then 3 years ago to Cincinnati.
Each game, Corben and his teammates run about 7-9 miles. During practice, it’s more. He starts his days with a “melting pot egg scramble”, which always includes eggs, whatever veggies are in the fridge, avocado, and sriracha. Oh, and a cup of bulletproof coffee. Always, coffee. The team gets lunch catered after practice and when they travel. The portions are predetermined and the meals are standard--protein, a healthy carb, veggies. The team’s sport scientist is always available to help with nutrition questions, rest schedules, optimizing physical health, and finding moderation not deprivation. Corben also has 26 built-in accountability partners on the roster with him. As most professional athletes, his physical routine is on point.
However, Corben believes that wellbeing is much greater than just physicality, and that your health truly depends on your mood and perspective on life. Every morning, Corben writes down the same one phrase in a notebook. “This could be your last practice.” This habit helps him set a positive mindset for the day and grounds him in the present moment. Reading and writing are his “therapy.” At any given time, he has 5 books on his nightstand. Right now, Daring Greatly, a book about courage and vulnerability, is at the top of the pile. He also has a blog called Corben’s Corner, where he shares an inside look into playing professional soccer. Last season, he covered all the important topics, including the best and worst dressed FCC players.
Corben also finds health through his family. He met his wife Annie in Cincinnati, and together they have a 6-month old named Brooks. At the beginning of the year, Corben adopted the mantra, “buy less shoes, buy more plants.” As a result, the duo are currently on a spider plant shopping spree (apparently a pretty hard plant to kill) with the goal of better oxygenating their house for themselves and the babe. Annie and Brooks are clearly the biggest reason that Corben has found home in Cincinnati, but a close runner up are the fans.
“This entire city has made this team into this huge thing that people love and root for, and want to see grow and be successful. The fan support is insane. The fans have no idea how much them showing up means to us.”
Aside from buying less shoes, and more plants (which btw, check out Corben’s favorite pair of shoes above), this FCC season, Corben also hopes to contribute whatever he can to FCC in order for the team to win the USL Championship, to give more, take less in general, and to continue to drink good coffee. With players as humble, grateful, health conscious, intelligent, and connected as Corben, it’s hard not to love FC Cincinnati.