Back to the Future: Tucker Hume

0524 Fury5.JPGEvery week around these parts, the Nashville Soccer Archive will be looking to put Nashville Soccer Club’s upcoming match into some historical context. This week we’re going to look at a central figure in the recent history of both Nashville SC and Ottawa Fury FC, Tucker Hume.

A towering forward in his second year in Nashville, Hume has enjoyed the kind of soccer story that’s easy to get behind. Initially a star for Division II Rollins College with his twin brother Walker, the Texas native first grabbed attention with his play in the summer of 2013. Playing in the same league that was once occupied by the Nashville Metros and the early incarnation of the Ottawa Fury, Hume established himself as an important player with the Austin Aztex. While under the direction of Paul Dalglish, the son of Liverpool legend Kenny, and alongside future No. 2 MLS SuperDraft pick Khiry Shelton, the Aztex ran rampant through the league, finishing the regular season 11-2-1 with an eye-popping +30 goal differential. Austin then went on to out-score their opponents 10-1 in the PDL playoffs, earning the club’s first and only title in the process.

The Hume twins returned from that summer to make an enormous impact for Rollins, with Tucker scoring 10 goals and assisting another six. Not to be out-done, Walker earned the league’s defensive player of the year award. Both then left the Sunshine State for a more traditional soccer power, the University of North Carolina. While each enjoyed successful, if staggered first years, with Walker contributing to a successful 2014 campaign and Tucker earning team MVP in 2015, it seemed as if things were lining up for a storybook ending for their senior year in 2016.

As each brother had felt the pain of NCAA tournament eliminations already in their career, Tucker proved the catalyst for a deep tournament run. After scoring a first-half equalizer, he headed home a 105th-minute winner to guide the Tar Heels past Florida Gulf Coast in the opening match. On the heels of a 1-0 win away at Syracuse, Drew Murphy sent UNC to Houston and the College Cup semifinals with a 102nd-minute strike to beat Providence. The Humes, who had played together at two different colleges and three different PDL teams, would now be ending their senior years playing in the College Cup. In Texas.

bbab9e06-f1fa-446c-ba97-83320033cda8.sized-1000x1000Unfortunately, standing in the way of the brothers was defending national champion Stanford. Fresh off a Jordan Morris-led College Cup win in 2014, the Cardinal were rolling once again, but the Tar Heels didn’t go without a fight. Both teams battled to a scoreless draw. UNC even made its first nine penalty kicks. However, Stanford made its first 10.

From there, the path of the Hume brothers diverged. Walker was a second-round draft pick by FC Dallas the following January. Tucker, well, his phone wouldn’t ring for a few more days, but it was a familiar voice was on the other side. As the Humes began making waves at UNC, their old coach, Dalglish, had moved up to the professional ranks to take a job with Ottawa Fury FC, and he was in need of another striker.

“I’ve worked with Tucker before and he scored huge goals for me when I was in the PDL with Austin,” Dalglish said of the signing. “He did the same throughout his college career, he always came up big in key moments. He’s a big target striker with a good habit of scoring goals at a key time and he has the type of character we want in our squad.”

Ottawa, which was set to play its first USL season after a spell in the tumultuous NASL, got an immediate return from Hume, as he found the back of the net an astonishing four times in their first preseason match. However, he’d only go on to score three in the regular season. Although true to Dalglish’s word, nearly every goal was of consequence. His first came in a 4-3 victory over New York Red Bulls II on May 20, and sure enough, just seven days later, he netted a 73rd-minute winner against Richmond. In July, he rescued a point with an 89th-minute equalizer against Rochester. However, things weren’t going so well for Dalglish, as he would resign from his position as coach and general manager in August.

Hume’s time in Ottawa done, he signed with upstart Nashville SC, and while he may not have been on the same team as his brother anymore, he was ultimately joined by former UNC roommate Alan Winn, who had spurned a deal with the Colorado Rapids of MLS to join him in the Music City. While his playing time was decidedly limited at times, Hume’s reputation for big goals continued as he grabbed his first with an 85th-minute equalizer at FC Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. With his height and Nashville’s all-yellow strip, Hume had previously been called “Big Bird” by FCC fans, and that continued throughout the match. After the goal, in what may have been the most memorable celebration of 2017, the lanky Texan put his arms out and flapped in the direction of the Cincy supporters. It was a breakout moment for Hume, who went on to score six more goals over the final 10 matches, closing his account with a fifth-minute tally against Cincinnati once again.

This season, Hume has scored just one goal so far, a 67th-minute strike on April 6. It happened in Ottawa.

 

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