“There’s a point, seven thousand RPM, where everything fades. The machine becomes weightless, it just disappears. And all that’s left is a body moving through space and time. Seven thousand RPM, that’s where you meet it. It creeps up near you, and it asks you a question. The only question that really matters. Who are you?” – Carroll Shelby
Like a fine-tuned machine, speed is in the fabric and makeup of Tacoma Defiance’s Nick Hinds. Long balls punted the length of the field are no problem for the natural racer. He tracks them down with ease. He was built for this. If 2019 taught us anything about Hinds, it is that the experiment with trying him out in the midfield is over. The Sounders Academy product answered the only question that matters. He is a left back now and in the future, one that is capable of changing games.
Hinds can use a little dribble to open his sprinting lanes. When he pulls off that little push of the ball his match-changing speed lets him sprint down the line and after a couple strides he’s past the midfielder and at full speed. Good luck to the opposing fullback left in his dust.
Turn on a dime, hit the gas, and he’s gone.
He gets his head up surveying for a cross, an underlapping run, or sprint from the elbow forcing a defense to react. For experienced racers, everything slows down in front of them. They see two steps ahead while their opponent struggles to keep up.
In 2019, Hinds tied for the club lead in assists with four and was fifth in chances created. His entry passes are quite dangerous. The one-time midfielder is comfortable in the organizational approach to the attack, which sees the ball at a fullbacks’ feet more than frequently than it does for the wide midfielders.
Now fully committed to his lane at left back, Hinds is showing that he has the horse power to be a defender. Of the players along the Defiance backline, he may be the smallest, but he still won a majority of aerial duels and was the team leader in tackles won, duels won, interceptions, and tackles attempted. This is no longer a player looking for a role, but one focusing on refining his game, with his eye on dominating the track.
There should be little reason to doubt Nick Hinds’ defensive abilities at the USL Championship level.
Of the returning players on the 2020 roster, no Tacoma player is faster that Nick Hinds. He’s willing to use that speed to break through two lines at a time, forcing the opposition to draw out a centerback, leaving the middle open for a secondary run. Hinds isn’t tall or broad, but still uses his body to win the ball. He’s nastier. A fierce competitor in all phases, unconcerned about a size disadvantage.
You need a pure racer behind the wheel? That’s Nick Hinds.
22 starts | 5 sub appearances | 2,088 minutes | 0 goals | 4 assist | 3 shots | 17 key passes
Off the Pitch
He grew up in Jamaica’s 21st postal code in Plantation, Florida. Nick loves the music of his island home, reconnecting from his adopted home in Puget Sound to the Caribbean sounds of Ding Dong.
Looking to 2020
As the lone left back on the Defiance roster, Nick Hinds will get the chance to declare that this is his year. He’s on a new contract in 2020 showing that the organization is putting their faith in the man who first played in USL back in 2015 and is now entering his third year as a full professional.
For more on Nick Hinds and your 2020 Tacoma Defiance roster: