Tacoma Defiance left back Nick Hinds and right winger Shandon Hopeau are called into service with Seattle Sounders FC this weekend. The two players are on Extreme Hardship contracts for 4 days, including for the September 7 match against the Colorado Rapids.
The contracts are a sign to all Defiance players that the pathway from Academy to Defiance to Sounders is open and available. Tacoma head coach Chris Little is happy for his two latest signees.
“I’m delighted for them. This is more validation of our process. When these things happen and players get the opportunity, you are delighted for the individual. The big thing for the club is that it shows the players we have a path and a process. If you come into this environment and do well – Alfonso, Danny, Justin, and now Shandon and Nick – if you perform at this level you will be recognized. You will get an opportunity with the First Team.”
Both will be with Seattle Sounders for the Sept. 7 match at Colorado Rapids (6:00 pm). They will not be available for Defiance’s match on Sept. 7 at Sacramento Republic. Health and fitness will determine their availability for the Sept. 10 Defiance match at Reno 1868 FC.
|Positions: Left back, left midfield||Age: 21||Years Defiance: 4||Mins. Defiance: 3,451|
|Starts: 38||Subs: 16||Goals: 1||Assists: 4|
Hinds is a speedy left back who played a little bit on the wing last season. In 2019 he has two assists on 14 key passes. He threatens the opposition goal bursting past the defense and flinging a low cut-back ball at a dangerous angle. In defense he recovers well and wins a majority of his one-on-one battles. Hinds has game-changing speed.
As Defiance’s form improved, so has Nick Hinds’ form. Coach Little credits Hinds’ improvement to his fitting into a dedicated role as a left back.
“With Nick we transplanted him from an attacking wide player into a fullback. In our organization, our game model, he has all the attributes to play that position – the attacking element, the athletic element. It took a little while for him to adjust to the demands physically. We expected him to do more than he’s done before. In conjunction with our turn in form has been Nick’s turn in form. Nick has made progress and continued to develop. I’m delighted for him that he’s been recognized and has the opportunity.”
Similar Sounder: Brad Smith
|Positions: Right Winger, Forward||Age: 20||Years Defiance: 4||Mins. Defiance: 4,594|
|Starts: 55||Subs: 14||Goals: 7||Assists: 5|
Hopeau is an attacking threat who started his pro career on the left side, but in 2019 is proving that he’s a strong threat on the right. He has 4 goals and 3 assists this season, while being part of the leadership team and occasionally wearing the captain’s armband. Hopeau is at his best using quick passes to spring him out into empty space. This year his ability to change games defensively is apparent as his tackles upfield change Defiance’s point of attack.
Over the past few months, Shandon is not just a strong attacking threat, but dedicated himself defensively as well. That effort after losing the ball is part of what has fueled Hopeau’s form, according to coach Little.
“Shandon has deserved it. His form has been very good. The First Team has taken notice. There’s an opportunity and he’s taking it. [Defense] is a key thing for us as a team and a club. We try to assume control when we don’t have possession of the ball, making it difficult for opponents when they don’t have possession of the ball. He’s bought into that. He’s worked on that side of the game and it’s really paid off for him.”
Similar Sounder: Lamar Neagle