FC Cincinnati’s Yuya Kubo and family adapt to U.S. life in pandemic

FC Cincinnati midfielder/forward Yuya Kubo and his son Chisato.

After he’s hung up his cleats for the night and made his way home from training with FC Cincinnati, Yuya Kubo is greeted with the best part of his day.

“When I get back home and then I see my son, that’s my favorite time,” Kubo said.

Kubo’s wife, Akiha, and son, Chisato, 1 1/2, are the little pieces of home that traveled with the FCC midfielder/forward last year.

“If I wake up and see my son’s face and then I will be happy every day,” Kubo said of being a dad. “I want to enjoy every day.”

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Kubo has learned to take advantage of those face-to-face moments with his son; especially after spending difficult time apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oct 14, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; FC Cincinnati forward Yuya Kubo (7) scores a goal on a penalty kick against the Columbus Crew SC in the first half at Nippert Stadium.

Life for Kubo before Cincinnati

Kubo grew up in Yamaguchi, the capital city of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. Yamaguchi translates to “the entrance to the mountain,” an ode to the mountainous countryside the city displays.

“Yamaguchi is a very small city,” Kubo said. “I was born there and grew up in Yamaguchi.”

As Kubo grew older, he began his professional soccer career and in December 2019 discussions with FC Cincinnati came into the picture. At the time Kubo was playing with KAA Gent in Belgium.

When Kubo brought up the possibility of moving to Cincinnati to Akiha, her reply was simple.

FC Cincinnati forward Yuya Kubo (7) passes in the second half of the MLS match between FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, May 16, 2021. Inter Miami defeated FC Cincinnati 3-2.

“I spoke with my wife and she said, ‘If you want to go, just go and I’ll follow you,’” Kubo said. “It was easy.”

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As Kubo put it, it was an easy decision at the start, but the months that followed would prove to be anything but.

Adjusting to U.S. life as the pandemic hits

Kubo moved to Cincinnati by himself in mid-January 2020. One month later, his wife and son followed suit.

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