Kane Hemmings stint with Orlando City this week has gotten a good deal of attention in the UK – especially given the courting of the 23 year old by Blackburn Rovers. There was instant speculation that a trial in the US could turn into a potential transfer to the burgeoning Floridian club.
However, the press officer for Orlando City told Rangers Report, “Kane is actually just in town to train with the team during his off-season.” That does not close the door of Hemmings signing with the club, but Orlando City has also been a hub lately of vacationing footballers looking to stay fit.
Part of Hemming’s training was an appearance in Orlando’s friendly with AS Roma. However, the former Rangers & Cowdenbeath forward did not appear in the club’s mid-week US Open Cup 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Orlando City is in the process of preparing for its inaugural season in MLS in 2015-16 & appears to be bringing in a whole cadre of young players for training sessions. Hemmings was joined by former Liverpool youth goalkeeper Martin Hansen in the match vs. AS Roma. Hansen, who is Danish, currently plays for FC Nordsjælland. Peter Tenorio of The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that American internationalist Brek Shea, who currently plays for Stoke City, is now joining Orlando for a ten day training stint. The winger was first brought into the United States national team picture by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2010 & he has made 26 national team appearances since then. However, his move from MLS to England has been a bust & he was not included on the World Cup roster.
Orlando appears to be utilizing its ideal holiday location as a way to allow footballers to mix a little leisure time with staying in footballing shape in the off season. It is also an ideal way to expose players to a glimpse of life as a professional playing in Florida while allowing the club to get an up close first hand look at potential signings.
Players like Hemmings, Hansen, & Shea would not be blockbuster signings but are the kind of players who would help round out the core of the team as it prepares for next season in MLS.
The pressure for Orlando to make some big name signings has been intensified with the speculation that New York City FC is close to signing Spanish legend David Villa. NYC FC will also be making its MLS debut next season. Rumors have Orlando being linked to Robinho, Kaka, & Joe Cole.
For Kane Hemmings it appears that he is using his time in Orlando to stay fit in preparation for a summer that will likely mark a turning point in his career.
After his failed tenure at Ibrox, Hemmings notched 24 goals in a Player of the Year season with Cowdenbeath. He has since been linked to Blackburn Rovers, Dundee, Kilmarnock & Hearts.