Penn FC struggled offensively during their season opener last week against the Charleston Battery, registering only 3 shots during the entire match. Most teams would respond to a performance like that by practicing harder and maybe moving some players around. Penn FC responded by going out and signing Tommy Heinemann.
Okay, that’s definitely not what happened. Most likely this was in the works for some time and the team was finally able to announce it today. But the end result is the same: Penn FC’s attack just became a lot more dangerous.
For those of you not familiar with Heinemann’s wild and crazy offseason, let me bring you up to speed.
Heinemann had a very successful 2017 season in the NASL with the San Francisco Deltas. He lead the team in scoring and even put away the go-ahead goal in the 2017 Soccer Bowl. Once that wrapped up in Novermber, he was quickly snatched up by FC Cincinnati in December and signed to a contract for 2018.
Now here’s where it gets a little strange. Just a few weeks later on January 31st, Heinemann was let go by Cincy with the team claiming that he had failed his physical. Heinemann and his representatives responded that same day, claiming that he was healthy and that they planned to file a formal dispute. The results of the dispute came on February 21st, with the USL finding in favor of Heinemann.
And that was pretty much it for a while. Multiple fans and supporters’ groups suggested that he would be a good fit for their team, but there were few inklings where he would land. Given that he was being treated like a major star by FC Cincinnati before his release, it felt like only the bigger USL clubs like Tampa Bay or Indy Eleven would be in play. But he ultimately made his way back to Harrisburg, PA, to suit up for Penn FC. It’s probably the biggest free agent signing for Harrisburg since they acquired Bobby Warshaw back in 2016.
There’s a few things that are still unclear about the signing, and unfortunately I don’t have the answers right now.
For starters, who’s paying him this year? He won the decision against FC Cincinnati, so are they paying him now? Does Penn FC basically get him for free, or will he collect from both?
In addition, is he ready to play right away? The whole contention with his release was that Cincy said he was hurt, but he said he was not. So there’s still a possibility that he’ll have something to rehab, or at the very least he’ll need some time to get up to full match fitness. That should be good news for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who play Penn FC this Saturday.
Based on the video below, he expects to be ready for the home opener.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Penn FC plays FC Cincinnati on August 12th and on September 22nd.
Congratulations Tommy.— Neill Collins (@neillycollins3) March 29, 2018