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Perry Kitchen plays first minutes for Hearts in road win


Heart of Midlothian head coach Robbie Neilson wasted no time in including Perry Kitchen into his plans for this season.

Days after he officially joined the Scottish Premiership club, the Hearts boss substituted the 24-year-old American on for Sam Nicholson in the 73rd minute of Saturday’s 1-0 road win vs. Dundee.

Hearts remains third on the table, thanks to Jamie Walker’s 52nd-minute goal at Dens Park. Second place Aberdeen sits nine points ahead of Kitchen’s side, but Hearts has a game in hand.

Kitchen played 17 minutes after being announced as the club’s recent addition on Wednesday. The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder did not have much to do after coming on, as Dundee pressed for a late game-tying goal.

What do you think of Kitchen’s debut? Think he will earn his first start before the end of the 2015-16 season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I really don’t get all this about SPL being a better league with better training and coaching, etc. I don’t buy it. Furthermore, this notion that SPL is scouted more or less than MLS is nonosense. There are too many examples of players being plucked from MLS to go to other leagues. Stern John, Tony Sanneh, Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Bobby Convey, etc., etc. etc.

    That said,…I would certainly echo what some others have said, this will be a great life experience for Perry Kitchen. Good for him,…25, living abroad in a wonderful city, playing soccer for a living. Having lived abroad for a few years at the same age,…I would surely recommend it to anyone. Good luck, man!

    • Better training and coaching is certainly up for debate, as is the weekly competition he’d be seeing. I actually think in these aspects, MLS is better (although not at DC United)

      As to his exposure to other Euro scouts from top clubs, there is little debate to this. Sorry but every single one of those outfield players (silly to list GK’s, as American keepers have always been held in high regard) you listed went to second division clubs, or Fulham, who’s best ever finish was seventh in the Premier League, and second in the EL once.

      These players should be leaving for these types of clubs before they enter their primes, not as they begin them. For example, at 29, Dempsey was at best a squad-rotation player/first-choice sub at Tottenham, an upper table club with CL-ambitions. He made a push for that level about 3-4 years too late. That’s the kind of move you want to be making as you enter your prime, not your peak.

      If you’re ultimate goal is to be playing for a perennial CL level club (and a club that has sustained success in the CL, not like Anderlecht or Molde, who are cannon fodder) then he needed to make a move soon. These types of squads just don’t scout the MLS. Only 4 players have transferred out of MLS to top clubs, 6 if you argue Yedlin to Tottenham (who have yet to prove this is sustainable success, I think it is…) and Donovan (JK heavily pursued him for Bayern, but MLS got in the way). Kitchen 24 years old, and will be entering his prime within the next few years. Hopefully if he blows the competition out of the water (I think he will), he’ll be able to bypass those mid-table clubs, and get in a top club soon.

      • Mac,

        I have to disagree. There is a difference between ‘being scouted’ by big clubs and moving to big clubs. The big clubs scout MLS. It is simply a matter of whether or not a player is viewed as being good enough or not. Man U scouts MLS,…that is how they came across Tim Howard. Tottenham scouts MLS,…that is how they identified Convey (visa issues) and Yedlin. Chelsea scouts MLS,…Miazga. Etc., etc. The number of players signing with lower level teams is simply a function of the talent level at the clubs. If Kitchen is viewed as a contributor at a higher level,…he would have the same opportunities at DCU as he does at Hearts.

        Your comments about Dempsey are a whole different discussion.

      • First off, much of my reasoning for why I think MLS isn’t scouted is based on opinionated rules I set myself, like top clubs having to have at the time sustained CL success. These are reasonable rules, but are certainly up for discussion.

        Secondly, Love these conversations, as you learn something new everyday and are a better conversation than the typical “JK sucks.” “no he doesn’t, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”.

        I did not know Convey was scouted and tried to be acquired by Tottenham, but was forced to ‘settle’ with Reading. Much more respect to him. With that said, Tottenham back then were a club that consistently bounced from 9th-15th, and in no way were a top tier club. Quite the opposite, they were exactly the kind of club to look to MLS like they do to Championship; for cheap player acquisition.

        I disagree about Tottenham scouting Yedlin. They secured that transfer in the summer after his WC exploits. NO club rumors existed about Yedlin being scouted prior to WC. No one in Europe knew who the MLS All star with plenty of Youtube highlights was until after he shut Eden Hazard down.

        Either way, I disagree about Tottenham being a top club just yet, and I probably am in the minority. They have for almost a decade been trying to break into the top 4, sometimes succeeding, but never sustaining it (for all the crap Arsenal gets about choking and always coming in 4th, its remarkable that they are always in CL, unlike Liverpool, ManCity, Chelsea and now Man United who all occasionally dip down and out of the top). Like Liverpool a few years ago before Suarez left, they need to show this year isn’t a one off (Leicester also). Commentators made an interesting point that Aston Villa were once just like modern Tottenham (young, and on the up, potential title-contenders), but now 10 years later, are in a complete mess. Same can happen to Tottenham if they aren’t careful.

        I’ve covered this in another post, on another article, so I’ll try and remember all my points:

        1. You can’t claim Chelsea, a club known to scout, sign, and hoard youth, scout MLS regularly. Otherwise they would have already attempted to acquire any and all of our past hypes (they never even made a bid). Again, no one in Europe had heard of Miazga before last summers u-20 wc. He was a blip on Poland’s youth national squad radar, let alone on Chelsea’s radar. EPB was considered a better prospect, and Juventus wanted him for their youth/reserve squad.

        However, I never said top clubs would never scout the MLS. Miazga is proving that this is changing. Clubs are starting to see MLS’ potential (Olosunde, another Jersey native just signed with Man United, albeit youth). I truly believe Miazga is the tip of the iceberg for MLS finally feeding top clubs (I think this is a crucial step before we even begin talking about being a top league).

        2. 4 players of all nationalities have ever transferred out of MLS to upper-CL caliber clubs:
        Matt Miazga
        Freddy Adu
        Jozy Altidore
        Last player escapes me, but it was to Feyenoord, when Eredivisie was more competitive.
        Thats 4 players in MLS’ now 20th year. Meanwhile, Poland’s Ekstraklasa (a league I would consider beneath MLS in terms of talent) has had 3 such signings in the last 4/5 years. These aren’t by the way players like Lewandowski or Blaszczykowski, etc. who came through the last 10 years.

        Its a proximity issue, not talent. Top clubs can’t just send their scouts on a $1500 trans-atlantic flight every week to keep track of a player in MLS. They’d need to properly create network of scouts, at least NYC and LA based, to report on a league that has yet to develop a World Class player. Thats a high risk, potentially risking +$1mil before any negotiations are even made.The money is probably better spent scouting Liga MX (for now).

        Its why, at least IMO, Kitchen is in a decent spot. Top clubs, at the very least average EPL clubs, make weekly trips to Scotland to see the talent. Hell, Arsenal send someone every time Zelalem just plays a game. If he plays well, Kitchen’s chances of joining a club like West Ham or Southhampton are exponentially better than anoth season in MLS, and much cheaper too. Seriously, he had 150+ caps for DC United. Who else was he supposed to attract? How much longer should he have waited?

        Its why MLS players also tend to come in cheaper. The clubs that are willing to properly scout MLS players (the upfront costs of a scout to travel/most likely live in the US), want low risk, high reward acquisitions. This is changing, as more and more clubs are willing to invest these costs in MLS’s potential (and as legends like Henry, sing the praises of MLS; I would bet Arsenal are keeping tabs on Trapp as we speak)

        Dempsey’s case was merely a comparison of when these types of transfers should be taking place. Its certainly a high risk situation, but Yedlin’s move to Tottenham is also high reward. He has about another 6-7 more years to continue establishing himself at Tottenham, to be at Dempsey’s age when he tried to do the same.

        As to Howard, as I said before, American keeper’s always come with a caveat; they’re literally the only position we have a proven track record. In 2003, at 24, Howard was already a young, but experienced MLS GK of the Year, in a country known for producing keepers. He had already started getting national caps after WC’02, and was seen as a legitimate challenger to Keller for Freidel’s (by this time a top EPL keeper) spot. It probably didn’t take long to convince Fergie that scouts have found Barthez’s replacement in a cheap American keeper who is arguably almost as good as Friedel. and already challenging for a USMNT that surprised everyone in Korea a year ago (2006 USMNT WC embarrassment hasn’t yet happened). No brainer. especially for his 3.2 mil pound price, that they flipped to Everton for 4.2 mil.

  2. It was a comfortable display from Perry. He was introduced to stiffen the midfield that was being subjected to the proverbial cavalry charge. He played confidently and with composure, absorbing some of the pressure from Dundee. He didn’t look like he had not played a competative game since November. With the coaching and training that Hearts do, he will get better. Then, unfortunately for us, he’ll be sold on for a lot of money. But I’m happy to see good players even if it’s only for a limited time. It’s great for Hearts.

  3. He will definitely earn a start soon but needs to find full fitness after a 4 month gap without a competitive first team game. Think Perry can become a key player between now and the end of the season for the Jambos!

  4. I’m glad he has gone to the SPL. The coaching there is much better than in the MLS (not our fault, they’ve been playing the sport professionally for over a century longer than we have). And now in a couple seasons he’ll be able to easily move to a better league.

    • Based on what? SPL is not better than MLS, there’s zero evidence SPL coaching is better than MLS and Hearts were just promoted last season. I’m fine with the move and wouldn’t have minded living in Edinburgh when I was PK’s age but from a footballing point of view this is a slight step down or, at best, a lateral move.

      • Based on watching the two leagues. Scotland has roughly the 25-30th best league in Europe, it’s teams regularly flop in Europe, even against teams from other smaller leagues. Maybe the leagues are close but basically the SPL is a non-competitive one team league and even that one team is particularly good.

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