(Writer’s Note: I know I can’t speak for everyone at FC Cincinnati, but I hope these words match the thoughts and opinions of the team and its supporters.)
A lot’s been written about how you got to FC Cincinnati, but how you got to the Queen City is rarely mentioned.
By the time you arrived as a trialist, you arrived with a more impressive playing pedigree than any player to wear the Orange and Blue shirt. You were once one of Arsenal’s young, promising players, and an English Premier League regular. That is truly a remarkable achievement.
And yet you never mention it.
Many players have represented FCC, but none have been classier. From the moment you signed until now, when your time playing for club has finished, you’ve been respectful, hard-working and appreciative.
We’re appreciative we got to see you play.
Through three seasons, you went from a hamstring injury in your first start at Bethlehem Steel into becoming an MLS regular who played across the FCC backline. While you didn’t play every match, you provided consistency and enjoyment with every appearance.
No outside back has ever been as beloved. When you sprinted up the sideline, you brought fans to their feet. And when the ball was on the other side of the field, supporters made sure to tell your teammates you’re still open.
You came to FC Cincinnati because they were the only American club offering you an opportunity. But once you got here, you became a first-choice player on the field and a better representative of the team off it.
People often talk about the growth of young Frankie Amaya, FCC’s youngest player. But what people don’t know – or don’t talk about – is you’re his biggest fan and going through a career renaissance yourself. Please take pride in that.
In three seasons, we hope Cincinnati has become home. We hope you’ve been as proud to wear the team shirt as we’ve been fortunate to watch you play in it. Don’t consider this a goodbye. It’s only a thank you and hopefully, until next time. Everyone in Orange and Blue can’t wait to see you again soon.
Thank you for taking the chance to move across the world to play for us, because you believed in yourself and you believed in this club.
In your final interview at Nippert Stadium, you mentioned how proud you were to earn the 2018 USL Supporters’ Shield, but then quickly said it’ll be forgotten when more trophies are won. You’re wrong.
There may be future trophies and future players winning them, but there will only be one Justin Hoyte, and we’re grateful he spent so much time playing for us and making us proud.
Thank you, Justin.