DeAndre Yedlin reflects, ‘Cincinnati was the perfect move for me’ in build up to match with former club

20240706 FCCvsMIA Post-Match JG 082

The trade to FC Cincinnati came together quickly and the reality of the move set in even faster for American National Team star DeAndre Yedlin, who moved to Cincy in early March in a blockbuster trade between Inter Miami CF and FC Cincinnati.

The Seattle native, who has played for massive international clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, AFC Sunderland, Newcastle United and Galatasaray, came to Cincinnati after the season had kicked off and joined the group quickly and with impact. After arriving on March 4 and being introduced to the media, the wingback made his debut three days later in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Since then Yedlin has made 15 starts and 17 appearances, assisted on three goals and has been an invaluable member of the roster as his professionalism, experience, and versatility has been key to FCC’s push to a second Supporters’ Shield.

But when he arrived, he arrived alone. His family remained in Miami and DeAndre stayed in temporary accommodations while the physical move to Ohio was coordinated.

Eventually, Yedlin was reunited with his wife and two kids – all three of whom are social media stars in their own right on their channels and are regularly featured on the FCC accounts arriving at games thanks to their creative and fashion-forward outfits – and the family settled down in the Queen City.

While waiting for them, Yedlin says he and his wife, Crystal, heard from teammates, friends and club staff about just how great of a city Cincinnati was for families.

“I speak about Cincy and people that told me it's such a family-oriented city and now I see why people are saying that,” Yedlin said after a 3-2 win over D.C. United on July 3. “It’s almost like the city was built for kids. You see families and see kids everywhere, which is incredible.”

“My daughter loves it. My son loves it. My wife loves it. And just the club in general. They care so much about the families, which I really appreciate because I've been in clubs that show no attention to the families.”

“I didn't know this was going to be the perfect move for me. And it was. It was a perfect move for me."

DeAndre Yedlin in Cincy

The victory over D.C. United prompted memories of his former club as FC Cincinnati turned its attention to the next match, a home bout with Inter Miami CF. A battle of the two top clubs in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Yedlin lived through a very hectic time while at Miami. Joining the club in 2020, he was the captain of the squad prior to the arrival of Lionel Messi and gracefully surrendered his role to the Argentine star when Messi joined the club. What followed was a media circus that launched him into an orbit of superstardom he didn't quite expect when joining the club initially.

“I can't say that I had ever been a part of anything like that,” Yedlin confessed. “I think I had been a part of things closer to that than a lot of the guys there had, especially a lot of the guys that haven't left MLS and been in Europe. So I think that side of it, it was a little bit eye opening for some guys at first. Where, you're going from traveling and into a hotel where there's maybe three or so people outside waiting to now there’s 500 people.”

“Where even at away games three quarters of the crowd is wearing pink jerseys. It's good especially for those players and even for myself to kind of see what comes with that level of attention.”

The change from the hectic Miami lifestyle, brought on by the addition of not only the Argentine World Cup winning captain but an assortment of his friends to bolster the roster, changed the dynamic of the club in good ways (winning the 2023 Leagues Cup, for example) but also took away from some of the creature comforts a player may enjoy.

“I think, if I was young and single and had no kids or nothing like that and living that sort of life, then I think that would have been, like, ‘yea this is pretty cool,’” Yedlin explained. “But right now at this stage in my life…again, I just didn’t know how perfect of a move this would be.”

Yedlin now is already serving as an ambassador to the club for other players around the league and welcomes opposing families to stay with him when they come to Cincinnati. For example, Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender had his family stay with the Yedlins in the week before the weekend match between the two clubs. Yedlin describes Callender as his best friend in soccer and the duo were inseparable while in Miami. Together they even co-wrote and published a children's book earlier this year titled ‘X Marks the Spot’ that tells the story of an African American boy named X that emphasizes the significance of being mindful about yourself and about your surroundings.

But with Miami on the road in the week before visiting Cincinnati, Callenders family came to visit the Yedlins.

“Drake’s wife is actually here with (my wife),” Yedlin said with a smile Wednesday before the match. “She's staying at our house right now and gonna come to the game with us.”

“This is actually funny because my wife sent me a picture; we have this big couch and a massage chair in our living room and (Callender) brought the TV out from the guest room and set it up in front of the massage chair. So she was watching the Miami game and my wife was watching our game at the same time.”

“It's crazy how it's happened that we're just kind of neck and neck. But it's good. It's good. I love it. Drake is probably my best friend in soccer. So to be able to see him and play against him…you know, I've never played against him before. So that will be fun. It'll be a good competition and especially for the situation and how big of a game it is, makes it even better.”

Yedlin and his side eventually got the better of Callender, as The Orange and Blue toppled The Herons in a shocking 6-1 victory at TQL Stadium. But the pair of couples still exited the stadium together as friends, with Yedlin expressing the importance of his family to the performance.

“I think if you want to get the best out of your players, the club needs to show they appreciate the family as well, because at the end of the day that's our backbone. So credit to Cincinnati, they… the club, the city, the community…have done a great job.”