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FC Cincinnati signs Japanese striker Yuya Kubo as designated player

Kubo hasn’t seen the field or the back of the net much lately, but Cincy believes he’ll score plenty in MLS.

CINCINNATI — The long wait for an impact signing in Cincinnati is over. 

FC Cincinnati announced Yuya Kubo as the club’s newest designated player Thursday, arriving via transfer from Belgium’s KAA Gent. The Japanese striker, 26, will occupy an international roster spot and will join FCC after his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate are received. Both are expected to arrive when the Primary Transfer Window opens Feb. 12.

“We are delighted to add a proven offensive player in the form of Yuya Kubo to our roster,” FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp said in a club statement. “We’ve made it a priority to bring impact players to Cincinnati and we believe Yuya’s versatility as an attacking player will be a great addition to our current group.”

Kubo becomes Cincinnati’s second designated player, joining the out-of-favor Fanendo Adi in an offense that scored a league-worst 31 goals in 2019. The club is reportedly on the hunt for at least one more DP before the start of the 2020 season. 

“I’m excited to join an ambitious club in FC Cincinnati,” Kubo said. “This will be a great experience for me as I am looking for a new exciting chapter in my professional career.”

For his part, Kubo will also be looking to kick-start his career after a fairly unproductive 18 months. Prior to his arrival in Cincinnati, Kubo had appeared in just 12 of Gent’s 38 matches this season, scoring three goals. He spent most of the 2018/19 season on loan at the German Bundesliga’s 1. Nuremberg, where he scored one goal in 23 appearances as the side was relegated to 2. Bundesliga. 

In total, Kubo has 303 career appearances across, scoring 86 goals and adding 23 assists 10 professional seasons with Gent, Nuremberg, Switzerland’s BSC Young Boys, and Japan’s Kyoto Sanga. Additionally, Kubo has 13 caps and two goals for the Japanese national team.

FC Cincinnati begins preparations for the club’s second season in MLS with a 19-day trip to Tucson on Jan. 19 before the regular season opens March 1 with a trip to the New York Red Bulls. This season will be the FCC’s first full campaign under Dutch manager Ron Jans, who arrived in Cincinnati midway through the club’s tumultuous inaugural campaign. 

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