COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids signed former US national team and VfB Wolfsburg striker Kamani Hill on Wednesday, as they look to bolster their attacking options.
Hill was snapped up after impressing while on trial with the Rapids for the last two weeks. For the 26-year-old journeyman, being back in the US was a huge plus.
“I’m really excited,” Hill told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday afternoon. “I hope [being home] makes it easier on me. Being away from home is never easy, and not being able to speak the language is a challenge.”
Hill played nine times for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg between 2006 and 2009, and twice appeared as a substitute for the USMNT in 2007. He was last playing at Portuguese side Vitória SC, from whom he was loaned out to second-division side Aves in 2010.
The much travelled attacker, who has proven his versatility with stints in midfield, will be useful to Rapids boss Oscar Pareja. Colorado are still without injured veteran Conor Casey, and saw strikers Caleb Folan and Macoumba Kandji move on during the offseason.
Hill also has recent experience playing in a 4-3-3 system, which will be of particular use since Colorado adopted that formation during the offseason.
“I feel a Colombian influence on the team,” Hill said. “The South American style is similar to the Rapids style of play in a 4-3-3, [and] I hope it does make it easier for me to adapt [having played in a similar formation in Portugal].”
Perhaps the only downside of signing for the Rapids will be the dreaded wait for Hill’s International Transfer Request (ITC) form — which had not arrived as of Wednesday afternoon. It's particularly harrowing in light of Martín Rivero’s six-week wait for the paperwork fresh on the mind of coaches and fans.
But for now, that it's not on Hill’s. The former US Under-20 international is simply looking forward to the opportunity of proving himself back home.
“It’s great to be home,” said Hill, a Bay Area native, who also said he expects to compete for a starting role once he is eligible to play. “I’m happy to be a part of the Rapids and I’m looking forward to the challenges of playing here.”
Hill could challenge for a starting role as soon as his ITC arrives, but will most likely be used as insurance behind the Rapids’ three strikers, Tony Cascio, Omar Cummings and Brian Mullan.