“When you think of Hawaii, you think of 5-star hotels, you think of Islands & a tropical climate. Not soccer, it’s one of those things that’s not working in the US, I mean look at the state of US Soccer right now. It’s in free-fall, the last thing we need is another money grab from Garber, it’s a repeat of NYCFC. The backing of a Big sports team & boom, instant franchise.”
Not many people know that Hawaii actually has Eight islands, however, only 7 are populated. The biggest is, of course, Oahu which has a population of over 900 thousand followed by Hawai’i which is still a way behind with just over 185 thousand. This story is set on the island of Oahu, central Oahu to be exact.
Now, let me give you some background. LAFC who were meant to be joining in the 2018 season collapsed in early 2017, just as the foundations of the Banc of California were being laid. This sent the MLS into a huge panic, Nashville had no time to make a sudden switch over to the MLS, Detroit & Sacramento were still working hard to win that last expansion bid, so where could they turn to?
FC Hawaii, the newest expansion side to enter the MLS & replace the now-defunct LAFC, with major backing from Bank of Hawaii, the foundations were put in place. The home ground would be the Aloha Stadium in Central Oahu. This is how we start……
The Expansion Draft
For those of you that aren’t huge MLS fans, the expansion draft works like this……
- FC Hawaii gets 5 picks from a list of ‘Unprotected players’.
- Each MLS side can protect 11 players from the squad.
- Players who are part of Generation Adidas are automatically protected.
- Designated players are NOT automatically protected.
Who did #FCHawaii pick?
- Thomas McNamara; Left Winger – NYCFC – Tommy is a well established MLS player with an absolute fortune of expirance that will be vital for Hawaii this season. The left winger proved himself in the first 2 seasons for NYCFC before falling out of favour with boss Patrick Viera.
- Matt Lampson; Goalkeeper – Minnesota – A goalkeeper who will mainly be used as rotation this year. Lampson has proved himself over the years in the MLS but he won’t be the first choice.
- Scott Sutter; Right Back – Orlando – Orlando took a huge risk leaving him unprotected during the draft. It’s a good move for Hawaii, Sutter has 262 games to his name, mostly in the Swiss League.
- Kim Ki-Hee; Centre Back – Seattle – A sturdy Centre Back with experience that is vital for the first year. Hawaii have made big moves so far. all of them have the experience needed.
- Clint Irwin; Goalkeeper – Toronto – The first choice keeper this year will undoubtedly be Irwin. The ex-Toronto keeper has absolutely everything needed to be successful & has been one of the most under rated goalkeepers in the MLS for a while now.
- Maxime Chanot; Centre Back – Free Transfer – Maxime Chanot is one of the most consistant, organised & aggressive defenders in the MLS. On his day, he is an absolute rock & can intercept key passes. A man with nerves of steel who rarely makes mistakes.
- Kyle Bartley; Swansea – Kyle Bartley was a man in demand, a player who was loved and adored by Leeds fans after his loan spell has chosen to hop across the pond and reignite his career in the MLS. Similar to Chanot, on his day he is absolutely unplayable. A very reliable, strong defender who puts the team first.
Free Agent Signings
- Anthony Blondell; Striker – The young Venezuelan hasn’t really hit the ground running like expected in the MLS. He has bundles of potential, but now he needs to find it after Hawaii have thrown him a lifeline.
- Alexander Callens; Defender – Callens is rough and ready defender. He’s a player that isn’t afraid to get stuck into challenges, throw himself around and get the team a win. He’s going to play a huge part in the back three this season.
- Corben Bone; Midfielder – Corben won’t see much gametime, a decent midfielder for the USL but a bench player for the MLS, he’ll see his gametime limited.
- Maxime Chanot; Defender – As the graphic above says, Maxime signs as one of our designated players. He played a huge part for NYCFC last season and many were shocked to see him leave the club. A huge pickup for Hawaii & one that is sure to be worth the Designated contract.
- Ethan White; Defender – A good defender with lots of MLS gametime, however with the signings that have arrived, he will find his gametime very limited.
Carlos was taken in the first rounds of the 2018 Superdraft. He’s an average defender with some potential to improve. He’s a very brave defender who’s good in the air & can play a few positions but he’s very one-footed and needs to work on his passing.
Ben is another player who has slight potential to improve but nothing to impressive. He works well within a team and his bravery & work rate make him a fairly good player, after assessing him, he could be re-trained as a Defensive Midfielder.
Issa was taken as our First pick in the Draft. Last year he scored 17 goals in 34 appearances for Wilmington & he was favoured by lots of teams. He’s got the ability to strike a ball sweetly & he’s very good in the air. The negative is that he’s very one footed and he needs to improve on his passing.
Matt has the potential to be a very, very good MLS defender in future. As of now, he’s been deemed good enough for the MLS but defensively, we’re strong so he’ll be loaned out. He’s very fast but again, like most of our draftee’s, is very one footed.
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