French midfielder Hugo Delhommelle to debut for Wairarapa United. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

From France, via Syracuse University, New York, to Masterton.

That’s the route taken by Hugo Delhommelle, who will hopefully make his debut for Wairarapa United in their Central League clash with Waterside-Karori at Memorial Park tomorrow.

Delhommelle was recommended to United by former player Nick Roydhouse, who played with him at Syracuse.

The 22-year old started his football career as a defensive midfielder in the youth academy at the Stade Rennais Football Club in Rennes, France. That was until a faulty bike brake changed the direction of his career a decade ago.

After he flew over his handlebars and broke his left wrist he shifted to the wing, a position not known for its physicality, kept playing, and has remained an attacking player ever since.

While at Stade Rennais he played in the top French youth leagues and attracted the attention of American universities.

Delhommelle then moved to Lander University, South Carolina. While there he earned NSCAA All-America honours in 2016. Delhommelle scored 13 goals and had 14 assists as he led the team to the 2015 and 2016 Division II National Tournament honours. He also helped Reading United [Pennsylvania] to the 2016 Premier Development League Division title.

After moving to Syracuse in 2017, Delhommelle led the team with six assists and tied for third in scoring, with 10 goals. He was one of two Syracuse players sent to the 2019 Major League Soccer Player Combine, where 60 college players showcased their talents in front of representatives from all 24 MLS clubs in Orlando, Florida.

Wairarapa United player-coach Cory Chettleburgh said Delhommelle has come over to potentially link up with himself and the Paul Ifill Academy.

“He will be here for four weeks then he goes back for his graduation,” Chettleburgh said.

“He wants to take the next step to promote his professional career, so if it goes well, we will look to bring him back for the rest of the season.”

Providing his international clearance is received, Delhommelle will be a welcome addition to the young United side.

Meanwhile, Chettleburgh is looking towards this weekend’s clash with Waterside-Karori with some confidence.

“The way we played in the second half on Saturday [against North Wellington] we were unlucky not to have got something out of the game, and that has instilled a lot of belief in the players.”

Chettleburgh admits he does not know a lot about Waterside-Karori, except that they had a close 2-1 loss to Napier City Rovers last Saturday.

“I know the coach [Rupert Crump] from when I played at Miramar Rangers. He’s a good coach. I imagine he will play a nice style of football and will try to play through us and not over us.”

Both teams are yet to register their first point of the championship.

Chettleburgh said there are no injury concerns and he will have fully fit squad to choose from.

The match kicks off at Memorial Park at 3pm tomorrow.