Everything ended when Joseph-Claude Gyau was just getting started.
After his move to FC Cincinnati was confirmed minutes before the transfer window shut, Gyau made his MLS debut two days later, and within a month became a cemented starter.
But just as Gyau’s influence in matches increased, the regular season ended and the three-month offseason shattered his momentum.
“I won’t say it was bittersweet because it was good to get in and get to know the guys and then play a couple games and try and show what I can do,” Gyau said. “It was just weird because right when things started to roll a little, the season’s over. I feel like we ended on a good note and I think we’re going into preseason well.”
Preseason is a long way off, though, and especially for someone who’s used to playing during the winter.
Before joining Cincinnati, Gyau spent his entire professional career playing in Germany. Born in Tampa, he grew up in Washington D.C., before moving to play in Europe. There, he bounced between German clubs, and saw his profile rise in the U.S. Men’s National Team player pool.
The son of a USMNT international and grandson of a Ghanaian national, he was called into the U.S. senior team while at Borussia Dortmund, where he’s made one appearance so far.
The German club calendar runs August to June. Gyau arrived in Cincinnati just as his customary season normally starts. He played in eight MLS games and now has a 15-week offseason.
“In the winter time, I’m normally getting like two weeks off, max,” Gyau said. “Last season, I got like nine days off. So, three months is definitely a long time, but it’s nice. I get to go home and spend a lot of time with my family. It’s also a chance to pick and choose things that I want to better my game. I’m looking forward to that.”
It’s fair to say he’s looking forward to both equally.
Now a member of an American-based club, he’s much closer to home and – for the first time in his professional career – lives on the same continent as his family. Earlier this summer, Gyau played for the U.S. against Jamaica in an international friendly in D.C. It was a chance to play for the national team just miles from his boyhood home.
Now that he’s playing in MLS, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has made it apparent through his national team rosters that he values MLS talent. And Gyau now fits that mold.
That’s why the winger wants to improve his game.
As 2020 approaches, Gyau could be one of FCC’s most versatile and dynamic players in attack. One of the club’s fastest players, he also has good dribbling ability and vision to create attacking opportunities. Those qualities were on full display when he provided an assist in Cincinnati’s 1-1 draw with Chicago on Sept. 21 at Nippert Stadium.
What’s most important now is that coach Ron Jans and supporters alike can see more of the sppedy winger once he has a full season in Cincinnati.
When 2020 begins, he’ll no longer be a newcomer to Cincinnati and MLS. Instead, he now has a foundation to build on – just like his new club.
“With a long offseason, you can really implement new things into your game,” Gyau said. “For me, I’m going to review some of the matches, think about some of the things I can try and actually work on and revitalize the game a little bit and come back refreshed.”