“It’s the same story every game with Antoine Hoppenot [’12],” CSNPhilly.com’s Dave Zeitlin wrote in his weekly column about the Philadelphia Union pro soccer team. “The rookie out of Princeton comes into the game around the 60th minute, runs like crazy, never gives up on plays, and provides a late-game spark his team desperately needs.”
The sight is familiar to Princeton fans, who saw the same boundless energy, speed, and creativity in 90-minute intervals during the fall. Hoppenot, drafted by the Union in January, made his first Major League Soccer appearance in April and has played an increasing role off the bench in the last two months. He’s helped Philadelphia to four wins in its last five MLS matches, including two in which he scored goals. The Union also reached the semifinals of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Last week, MLSsoccer.com added him to its top-five ranking of the league’s Rookie of the Year candidates.
Born in France and raised in Princeton, Hoppenot admits that playing for the Tigers was the last thing on his mind when he was a star soccer player at Princeton Day School. He was anxious to leave home for college. But, as he said in a recent interview with the Union Sound podcast, his parents and sister Claire, a 2007 Princeton grad, urged him to reconsider. “I’m so happy they did that, because it was the best four years of my life,” Hoppenot said.
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