The darlings of the English Premier League further endeared themselves to the American soccer watching audience by signing the United States Men’s National Team player last week.
There are two ways for English Premier League teams to gain an audience in the United States: be an underdog or sign one of their National Team players. Thankfully for AFC Bournemouth they have both working for them.
Last week the Cherries announced that they had signed midfielder Emerson Hyndman to a four-year contract. Hyndman, 20, spent the past five seasons with Fulham where he made 20 appearances. The former FC Dallas Youth Academy product had been out of contract with the Cottagers and was unlikely to re-sign with the club.
The deal is for four years. The exact dollar amount of the contract was not disclosed to the public.
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In addition to his experience with Fulham, Hyndman has made two appearances for the USMNT senior side most recently in their 3-1 win over Puerto Rico in May. Most of his international experience comes at the youth levels for the United States. It was his goal against Myanmar at the 2015 under-20 World Cup that propelled the USMNT onto the knockout stage of the tournament.
Although there have certainly been a cadre of young American players that have come into the Premier League and fizzled out what sets Hyndman apart is his attitude. The grandson of U.S. Soccer coaching legend Schellas Hyndman, Emerson has a professional attitude and is very comfortable playing under difficult conditions.
On the pitch, Hyndman works best as a center-midfielder where he can build and orchestrate attacks. Even during his time with Fulham Hyndman showed a unique sense of mapping out passes on the pitch. His patience on the pitch will make a welcomed addition to Eddie Howe’s squad.
The question is if he will start or come off of the bench. Both Dan Gosling and Matt Ritchie will likely be back for the 2016-2017 campaign and both are likely to start for Howe. But neither is cemented into the spot, particularly Gosling who has had a bit of a journeyman career.
As opposed to the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea, Bournemouth does not really have the budget to sign some of the more expensive players available.
So it is important to find players who might be overlooked or have high upside without the expensive price tag. A player like Hyndman is the perfect example of someone who will not break the bank but can provide immediate dividends.
From Hyndman’s perspective this is the perfect place to breakthrough in the Premier League. Bournemouth has a history of giving young player’s opportunities even if it is in a must-win match. Although Hyndman certainly played in some big matches for Fulham he is still missing the experience that many players of his age in English soccer have. Getting the chance to earn a starting spot and take his lumps should make him a better player in the end.