ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (December 6, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies added a pair of experienced USL forwards to their 2019 roster Thursday, signing Antoine Hoppenot and Malik Johnson.
Hoppenot played the previous two seasons in the Western Conference with Reno 1868 FC while Johnson has been in the Toronto FC organization since 2013, when he joined the academy as a 15-year old prospect.
Originally from Paris, Hoppenot moved to the United States to play college soccer at Princeton in 2008 and has been playing stateside ever since. He was selected by the Philadelphia Union in the 2012 Supplemental Draft and made 69 MLS appearances over four seasons with the Union before signing with FC Cincinnati in 2016.
After a year in Cincinnati, he moved to Reno for two highly successful seasons, tallying 17 goals and 19 assists in 67 matches. His 13 assists in 2018 were the third-most in the USL Championship.
“It’s well-known in the Western Conference that Antoine brings a diverse skillset with tons of energy and a high motor to put pressure on his opponents,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “He brings real quality to our squad and his assist numbers from the last few seasons offer us something different in our attack.”
Johnson, 20, comes to the Rowdies in his first move away from his hometown of Toronto. He joined the Toronto FC Academy and made his professional debut with Toronto FC II in 2015. In the four seasons since, Johnson played in 75 matches, scoring seven goals and adding three assists. He has represented the Canadian national team at the U18 and U20 levels.
“The quantity of high-level professional games Malik has played at his age is staggering,” Collins said. “He’s only 20 years old, but he knows what it takes to play in this league already. He has speed to burn but he also has the technical quality to beat you one-on-one from wide positions. That will be really exciting for everyone to watch this season.”