Antoine Hoppenot embraced the nickname in every way.
Being known as the “super-sub” was certainly fine with Hoppenot because it meant he was playing consistently.
But ask him and Hoppenot will tell you he wants more. Who wouldn’t?
He wants to start and be a consistent 90-minute player with the Philadelphia Union. He played in 30 league matches and was rewarded with two starts.
Hoppenot is looking for more in the future.
“I’ve learned so much in my two years with the Union and it’s been great,” Hoppenot said. “I always train and prepare myself to play every game and it just so happened that it became a consistent thing where I was coming off the bench. The coaches said they liked my energy coming off the bench. I was happy to contribute in any way. Whatever the club needed, I was happy to provide.
“Of course, I’d like to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis. I think that’s the mentality of every player. I’m still such a young player and I’m going to learn as much as possible to get better. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my two years here.”
Hoppenot had three goals and two assists and provided a spark throughout the season.
The task now is to provide a consistent spark.
“There were games when I came in and played well and there were games where I had chances and didn’t execute the way I wanted,” Hoppenot said. “I want to get to the point where I can play at that high level all the time. I think that’s the goal for everyone. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can to get to that level.”
When the season ended after being eliminated by Sporting Kansas City, Hoppenot was already thinking ahead.
“We’re all upset about not making the playoffs, but we did a lot of good things this season,” he said. “We made a lot of progress but in the end, we didn’t do enough to get over the hump. We came together and the locker room was tight. We had great camaraderie on the field. I know we’re going to make another leap next season. We’re definitely moving in the direction we need to be and there’s going to be a lot of excitement in 2014.”
It will be the third season for Hoppenot since excelling at Princeton. He’s hoping it will be his best yet.
“It’s almost hard to believe I’ve played two seasons in MLS because it has gone by so fast,” Hoppenot said. “I’m going to keep working hard like always and come back stronger than ever and ready to play.”
What do you think Antoine's role will be in 2014? Leave your thoughts below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com