Hoppenot sparking Union bench, could be draft steal
Fifty players were selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft before the Union plucked forward Antoine Hoppenot with the 51st pick on Feb. 21.
How in the world did that happen?
“Hey, you know what, I was just happy to get drafted,” Hoppenot said. “I knew when I got to the Union’s camp, I had to work hard and show what I could do. The coaches showed so much confidence in me. When my name is called, I give it everything. That’s the way I’ve always played.”
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Hoppenot has been a major spark off the Union bench this season, especially in a recent stretch of games.
Hoppenot scored the game-winning goal in the opening minute of extra time to lift the Union over D.C. United in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 5. The rookie added his first goal in league action in a 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.
“It was just a matter of time before Antoine started scoring goals,” said midfielder Freddy Adu. “He’s so fast and he has a knack for being in the right place in the right time. He’s scrappy. I think he annoys everyone and I mean that in the best way possible. He fights and scraps for everything. He’s a hungry player and that goes a long way.”
Hoppenot scored 26 goals and added 15 assists on his way to becoming a three-time first-team, All-Ivy League pick at Princeton. He was ranked 20th on the Top Drawer Soccer Men’s National Top 100 list as a senior.
Despite strong credentials, Hoppenot went overlooked by virtually every club in Major League Soccer. All he needed was one club to take a chance and he couldn’t be happier with his destination.
“Coming to the Union was a blessing being so close to Princeton,” Hoppenot said. “I also knew I had to play well. It’s been a great experience and I’m excited about this season and my future.”
Union introduced Bakary Soumare yesterday.
Soumare is a former MLS Defender of the Year finalist and was the second overall pick in the 2007 SuperDraft. He’ll make his Union debut Saturday vs. Houston.