This may seem rather familiar: there was a young kid at Akron; speedy, nimble, nifty on the dribble, dominant with one foot, questions about position at the pro level, and signed after two seasons with the Zips. This is not the story of DeAndre Yedlin, but Nick Hinds.
Unlike Yedlin, Hinds signed to S2 on a USL deal rather than as a Homegrown Player, though that HGP deal may still come. Hinds is also not a regular in the US Youth National Team picture.
As a freshman Hinds scored 5 goals with 4 assists. Last year, as a sophomore, he netted 6 goals and again tallied 4 assists. Hinds started 30 games and subbed on 11 times. He is a potent threat in the attack and will need to improve defensively.
What Hinds is is a player who can change games as a left back or left mid. These comparisons may seem more Joevin Jones-like; Nick played both positions at Akron. His partner on the left, Niko de Vero, was drafted 31st overall.
Prior to leaving for Akron, Hinds played a total of 296 minutes in the 2015 and 2016 USL seasons with S2.
“He was in with our Academy group before he left for school,” Vice President of Soccer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson said after Monday’s practice session. “[He has a] good left foot, is good under pressure, and we want to keep seeing him develop and work hard.”
Hinds will compete on a S2 squad that, unlike past seasons, returns an experienced group stock full of former Academy players. Hinds will join David Olsen, Shandon Hopeau, Sam Rogers and Azriel Gonzalez on the quest to be the first HGP to climb from S2 to First Team. Felix Chenkam, Ray Saari, Francisco Narbon, Denso Ulysse and Rodrigo Ele also return and look for that final polish to follow in the footsteps of Oalex Anderson, Jordy Delem and Nouhou.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity for S2 in Tacoma,” Henderson told the media. “I think it’s going to be well supported and I think it’s going to be great for developing players. For us, the roster has stayed pretty close to what it was last year. Now with the competition in the First Team you’re going to have guys coming down who need to get minutes. It’s a chance to develop there.”
With a high level of talent and experience around him, Hinds will be in a strong position to nurture and mature his skill-set to a First Team level.