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To the fans,

To the fans on the West Side and the East Side.

To the ones that went to Xavier and the ones that went to UC.

To the ones that know where everyone went to high school.

To the fans that say “Ope!”

To the fans from Ohio, the fans from Kentucky, and the fans from Indiana.

To the fans from the suburbs and from the city. To the ones that watch on TV, to the ones that listen on the radio. To the smallest of fans who have yet to take their first step and the ones who walked through Nippert on day one. To the fans who have traveled miles to see us and the ones who make TQL Stadium roar…

This club was built on your shoulders.

No one would have ever believed Cincinnati could become home to an MLS team if it weren’t for you. Week in and week out for three years, you paraded around the Queen City with pride and passion. That’s why we exist. Your excitement for soccer in this city could not be ignored.

Obviously, the past three years in MLS have not been as we had imagined it to be. But through it all, there was a constant. It was you. The excitement, which put Cincinnati on the MLS map, appeared at every venue, every match, since day 1. You were loud, even when we were down. You stayed till the end, and would show up again the following week, regardless of the result.

I re-signed with Cincinnati because I believe in this club. I believe in our city. I believe in our fans. I believe in the vision of what all this can be. And I want to be here for it.

I once played for a club who had not seen the playoffs in almost a decade when I arrived. It took time, it took patience, it took getting it right and getting it wrong. It took building culture and bringing in the right people. Three years later, we made it to MLS CUP. I don’t tell this story to tell you that we are going to MLS CUP in three years or that playoffs are going to take a decade. I tell you this because when this gets going, it is gonna go!

It's the dawn of a new season and I know one thing to be true: You have our back. You will be passionate, you will be proud, you will be unrelenting for 90 minutes. You will be cheering, you will be drumming, you will be painted, you will be waving your flags. You will hold your scarves high. You will be there for us in our best moments and when we need you most. You will be there on matchday 1 and on matchday 34.

And when I look into the crowd, I will know that I’m standing on this field in Cincinnati because of you.

This club was built on your shoulders. And I can’t thank you enough. See you Saturday.