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Eastern Conference Championship

Wizards bolster attack, sign Hue

The dangerous Kansas City Wizards attack has been augmented by one international player -- and it could soon possibly be two.

Dynamic midfielder Jermaine Hue, formerly with Harbour View FC in his native Jamaica, signed with the club earlier this week and on Friday his work visa and international transfer clearance were received, making him eligible for this weekend's match against the MetroStars. Midfielder Diego Walsh was released to make room for the Jamaican international.

The number of additions could be increased, as the joining of Finnish forward Antti Sumiala with the team is also contingent upon approval and processing of his work visa and his international pass.

Predictably Hue became interested in joining Kansas City upon talking to countrymen Shavar Thomas and Khari Stephenson, who both patrol the pitch for the Wizards.

"I [knew] Khari Stephenson and Shavar [Thomas] were at the club and they told me it was a good franchise. I think MLS is a very high standard of competition, so I really wanted to come here and try it," Hue said.

The contract is dependent upon Hue's showing in the rest of the Wizards season, which lasts at least until their last regular season contest on Oct. 15.

"I signed for the rest of this season and three years," Hue said. "The contract is not guaranteed. It is based on how I do for the rest of the season."

At 27, Hue is nearing or is at his peak physically. Now is the time to make a move in his career if he has further ambitions. And he does admit MLS could be a stepping-stone.

"I'm looking for possibilities in higher leagues -- the English Premier League," he said.

Hue, nicknamed 'Jerry', is hoping the in-game familiarity with his new teammates way of playing that often takes multiple games to develop will be accelerated by the fact that Hue has been training with Kansas City for the past few weeks.

"My strongest trait is in the offensive position passing and scoring goals, creating, said Hue. "Attacking midfield [is the position I play for Jamaica]. [The Wizards] wanted an outside left midfielder because they thought they were short in that position."

Assistant coach Brian Bliss recently said he believes Davy Arnaud's transition to left midfield has gone well, a move made necessary after Scott Sealy's emergence as a consistent threat at striker. However, when Sealy has been away with the Trinidad & Tobago national team recently, Arnaud has still lined up as a part of the forward contingent.

With Preki's retirement at the end of the season and a need for a playmaker to take the pressure off Josh Wolff, and to a lesser extent, Sasha Victorine, the 5-foot-8 Hue appears to be the hope for a long-term solution to a consistent need for an excellent passer who has the energy to run the offense for long periods and score too. As a bonus, Hue has shown the ability to strike from distance.

It will be interesting to see how and when Gansler chooses to use Hue as the Wizards look to not only ensure their playoff presence but grab the top seed in the MLS playoffs.

Over the past few weeks, as the Wizards have made their charge toward the top of the Eastern Conference, he has been settled on a forward six including Wolff and Sealy in the forward roles, Arnaud and Chris Klein as the wide midfielders and Victorine and Kerry Zavagnin in the center of the engine room.

Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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