BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Kane Hemmings’ American dream did not come true with Orlando City but he would relish the opportunity to star in the States for Dundee.
The 24-year-old travelled to Florida for a trial period in 2014 following a blistering campaign in the Scottish Championship with Cowdenbeath.
He turned out out against Roma in a glamour friendly for City, who are now established in the MLS and boast Kaka as their star man.
Hemmings admits Orlando would have been a wonderful location and climate to continue his career but, with unfinished business in Britain, he joined Barnsley before ultimately arriving at Dens Park 12 months later.
However, Hemmings could have the opportunity to strut his stuff in the U.S. if Dundee’s ambitious plan to cross swords with Celtic in Philadelphia comes to fruition.
He said: “I went over for a little while and trained and it would have been a beautiful place to go and play, especially with the players they’ve got now.
“It was a good experience. The way the American fans treat the game is a little bit different.
“They’ve got their tents set up in the car park before the game and they’re all drinking there. I don’t think you’d get that at McDiarmid Park!
“But it was a great experience and I think it’s one of those sports, when you show the right enthusiasm, the American people get right behind it.
“I enjoyed it when I was out there. They treat it like a day out and really enjoy the occasion. It was a good experience. There’s a lot of enthusiasm there, I think Americans are quite enthusiastic in general, they get behind teams, so it’s something worth looking at.”
The stint in Florida saw Hemmings face the likes of Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi as Totti scored a spectacular goal in a 1-0 win for the Serie A side.
However, proving there is no such thing as a meaningless game for a determined professional, Hemmings still looks back ruefully on his disallowed contribution.
He laughed: “I remember the game fondly. I scored but got flagged offside – and I was never offside!
“It was a great experience, though I think they’d all been out the night before because it was at the end of their season! I remember Totti put one right in the top corner, and they had pretty much a full team out.”
Amid the rain and snow of Perth on Friday night, Orlando could barely have seemed further away.
Nevertheless, Hemmings shone against St Johnstone and bagged his sixth goal of the season after linking up neatly with former Blue Brazil teammate Greg Stewart
David Wotherspoon ensured a share of the spoils with a first-half equaliser, nevertheless the striker was heartened by yet another 1-1 draw; their fourth in succession.
Hemmings continued: “After having the lead it’s frustrating, but when you come to a place like this, with St Johnstone in the form they’re in, they are points that might be vital at the end of the season.
“You want to win as many games as possible but Friday night was a good point for us. We need to start turning the draws into wins soon, it can’t keep going on, but we’re not getting beat, which is a positive, and hopefully we can keep that up.
“The club finished in the top six last year and we want to do that again. When you’ve done something already, you want to at least match it the next season – if not beat it – so top six has to be the aim.”