(Note: This is a copy of Ian Joy’s open letter to the media and Real Salt Lake’s fans).
To the fans and media of Real Salt Lake:
I never really had time to talk with the press or the fans after making the decision to leave RSL and move back to Europe.
I first of all would like to thank Jason and Garth for giving me the opportunity to play soccer in the US and for standing by me with the decision to leave and be closer to my family. I would also like to thank Mr. Checketts for creating a fantastic soccer environment that many players never get to experience.
I would like to thank all the staff and fans for giving me a lot of support during my time in Salt Lake and for all the good luck wishes.
When I first talked to Garth about joining RSL, he made it clear to me that we needed to make the playoffs at all costs and I told him that if he signed me I would guarantee that the team would make the playoffs. There was never a doubt in my mind that I could make a difference to any team that wanted to be successful, quite simply because I am a winner and will do anything to make sure that that happens.
My first few months in were hit by some poor team performances and a separation in my personal life from my wife and daughter, who departed Salt Lake and headed back to Germany. The separation from my daughter was very, very difficult, and were it not for Jason Kreis standing by me 100% and giving me the time off from the field (or for my new girlfriend Nichole) I would have left RSL last summer.
However, I had made a promise to Garth that I wanted to fulfill and I knew I had to get my head on straight and get this team into the play-offs – something we had NEVER in RSL history done before.
I worked my way back to full fitness and into the team in July and then went on a run that I’m sure every REAL fan will never forget. I personally went on a run of games without defeat that I am to this day very proud of. After making my return to the lineup vs. Houston on July 3, 2008, I lost only one game out of the 13 that I started in the 2008 stretch run.
I have heard and read that some people say I stole money from this team – I will not stand for any of it! Those fans seem to forget that Real Salt Lake had never been a successful team – whatsoever – until Jason and Garth took over (and until Ian Joy walked in the front door!)
Yes, my time in Salt Lake was sour because of my personal problems at the start of the 2008 season and the injury I had at the beginning of 2009, but this team has taken a huge step in the right direction. To have been a part of that, I am very proud and feel like I justified the money Real paid me.
This team has the chance to be very successful this year and I have the confidence the boys will make it to the play-offs once again.
I move back to Europe now and I will have the chance to be closer to my daughter and help her grow over the next important years. I will search for a club and look for my next challenge. One day I hope to return to MLS, as I had a very enjoyable time here and I feel like the league is going places. Until then, my MLS CUP dream is on hold …
Thank you very much for all the good memories and I wish everyone good luck.