The first time most Sacramento Republic fans first read Wilson Kneeshaw’s name was when the club announced that he had joined the team for the remainder of the season on August 11. At the time, there was fairly little out there about the Republic’s new 22 year-old forward.
We knew he had started his career with Middlesbrough FC but had most recently played for Blyth Spartans AFC in England’s Northern Premier League. We knew that chances were he probably going to be less of an immediate impact player and more of a development project and investment in youth, something that was echoed by Director of Football, Graham Smith.
We have signed him for his potential... We believe that he, along with other developmental players at the club, show great promise for future.
- Smith in the official press release announcing Kneeshaw’s signing.
That future seems to have come much faster than most people would have expected.
Kneeshaw is now tied with Tommy Thompson and Harry Williams as the Republic’s third highest scorer this season with three goals, something that most did not see coming. What is even better is how efficient he has been in getting those goals.
Kneeshaw has scored his three goals in just 99 minutes through four appearances, an average of one goal every 33 minutes. What’s more, he has accomplished this without missing a single shot. Three shots, three goals.
So does this mean that Republic has found a young, English, Lionel Messi that has somehow eluded club after club?
Of course not. Although his numbers are astounding, they are in no way sustainable. While it would be amazing if Kneeshaw was able to keep this pace up, he will eventually regress to the mean and miss at least one shot.
What all this does mean is that Republic have found exactly what they were looking for when they signed Kneeshaw: a player with the potential. Potential to be a difference maker even at this early stage and potential to be a force to be reckoned with a few years down the line.
To see a player so young (by US standards) making the most of his limited opportunities is definitely encouraging, and it makes me excited to see what Kneeshaw has in store for the future.
Kneeshaw’s next opportunity to step on the field comes in tomorrow’s match against the Tulsa Roughnecks, a team with an incredibly weak defense. Regardless of whether he continues his astounding 1 shot, 1 goal streak or starts regressing towards the mean, if Kneeshaw gets on the field tomorrow, keep an eye on him.
What are your thoughts on Kneeshaw? Excited to see what more he has in store for us in the future? Sound off in the comments below.