On Monday, Nashville SC added Nick Hinds to their 2021 roster. 23 years old, Hinds came through the Seattle Sounders academy and has 68 appearances in the USL Championship to his name.
To get a more informed look at this signing, we spoke with Dave Clark, a broadcast analyst for Tacoma Defiance and founder of Sounder at Heart, which covers Seattle Sounders, OL Reign and Tacoma Defiance.
Ben Wright: First off, what kind of player is Nick Hinds? How would you describe his style of play to someone who’s never seen him on the field?
Dave Clark: Hinds is a speed first left sided player who can play as a winger, but is best as a left back who can contribute with late runs and tight interchanges. Do not expect lofted crosses from him. Instead, you’ll want to see a player move on the dribble.
BW: How has he performed at the USL level for Tacoma? Has he always seemed like a player with MLS potential, and why wasn’t he able to break into Seattle’s first team?
DC: The Sounders controlled too many left backs in Nick’s time in the organization. Joevin Jones might have had the best season ever as a left back in MLS; former English Premier League player Brad Smith joined the team; Nouhou developed with Sounders 2 (now Tacoma Defiance). There aren’t many organisations that need four players in that role — and yet last year Seattle also had Jimmy Medranda. Nick was blocked a bit and of an age that sitting on a development team wasn’t the opportunity he needs.
BW: Nashville have a pretty solid left-back corps already. Dan Lovitz and Taylor Washington both saw minutes in 2020, and they selected Tom Judge in the SuperDraft. Do you think Hinds can come in and compete with those guys for minutes off the bat?
DC: Lovitz is clearly y’all’s starter. What Hinds will offer is game-changing speed. That can be particularly effective late in games as a sub. With MLS teams having about two matches a week throughout another pandemic compressed season there will be a lot of rotation. Hinds must demonstrate that his several pro seasons and two years at Akron make him a veteran even at 23.
BW: Off the field, Nashville SC appears to be a very tight-knit group of guys. How do you see Hinds fitting in the locker room and the broader Nashville community?
DC: Hinds has a glowing smile that can spread through a group of kids. He’s willing to be out in the community, pre-pandemic. He loves to learn about his adopted cities as well. I expect he’ll make a few close friends on the squad quickly.
BW: What are your expectations of Hinds in MLS? Do you think he’ll have a successful career at this level?
DC: I expect he’ll have several years as a rotational player contributing on a squad with playoff ambitions. It’s easy to forget that he first took the pitch in a professional match back in 2015 and is only 23. There’s likely one more big step his skills will advance. He’s been under the tutelage of Liverpool legend Djimi Traore, MLS stalwart Wade Webber, and a development staff that’s produced dozens of MLS talents, or better, over his years here. His next level could be a lot of fun.
BW: Anything I missed you want to mention?
DC: Just a general shoutout to Fort Campbell and the good times I had on Church, 2nd, Broadway and the rest of the friendly city of Nashville back years ago.