Perry Kitchen

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Reports: Perry Kitchen to leave Hearts for Randers in Denmark

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A precipitous and swift fall for Perry Kitchen at Hearts of Midlothian has reached its inevitable conclusion.

The American midfielder has reportedly departed preseason training with Hearts and is heading to Denmark to sign with Danish Superliga side Randers.

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Despite making 26 starts in 29 games last year in the Scottish First Division, Kitchen found his playing time decrease under new coach Ian Cathro, who was appointed in December 2016, and following the season Kitchen was stripped of his captaincy.

According to the reports out of Scotland, Kitchen was told he was free to find a new club to join this summer.

The news of a move to Denmark is surely a blow to Kitchen, who now finds himself on the outside of the U.S. Men’s National Team picture. He earned five caps for the national team under Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure and was a regular for the youth national teams during his time in high school and with D.C. United in Major League Soccer.

American players in Europe face significant offseasons

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This weekend’s UEFA Champions League Final and Girona’s promotion to La Liga closed the door on the seasons of the top European leagues, with mixed results for Americans abroad.

Geoff Cameron has a new deal at Stoke City and remains an important part of their team despite a frustrating time on the shelf with injury, and Fabian Johnson will stay at Borussia Monchengladbach as well.

John Brooks starred for Hertha Berlin when healthy, and earned a big new deal at Wolfsburg. You may have also heard about this Christian Pulisic kid at Borussia Dortmund.

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Lots of good there, and that’s without touching Bobby Wood helping Hamburg to avoid Bundesliga relegation and DeAndre Yedlin‘s Football League Championship title with Newcastle United.

So there’s little doubt those players will remain with their clubs next season, but several other Americans have questions about their futures. And whether they stay at their clubs or not, they’ll need better form to stay on Bruce Arena’s radar.

Aron Johannsson, Werder Bremen — Injury after injury has robbed the Icelandic-Alabaman of the Bundesliga breakthrough many expected, and he doesn’t seem to fit into the plans of Alexander Nouri. An MLS move has been talked about, and his talent would certainly push him to the forefront there.

Matt Miazga, Chelsea — There were some fits and starts for the big center back on loan at Vitesse, but there’s no doubt he figured himself out in the Eredivisie. Miazga turns next month, and will get the preseason at Chelsea to earn his way into Antonio Conte‘s plans. Another loan sees likely, and that’s not a bad thing if he heads somewhere he can feature regularly at a higher level.

Danny Williams, unattached — One of the surprise omissions from Arena’s provisional squad for the Gold Cup was Williams, and maybe that’s because the central midfielder is sorting out his club future. He’s long wanted Premier League football, but Reading lost the playoff final to Huddersfield Town. The 28-year-old posted four goals and an assist in 41 Championship appearances for the Royals, and could shine elsewhere.

Emerson Hyndman, Bournemouth — He left Fulham to find Premier League time at Bournemouth only to head on loan to Rangers. He starred in Glasgow, but more time in Scotland is likely not something he could use in terms of career development.

Perry Kitchen, Hearts — Scotland was good to Kitchen at the start, the bulldog of a midfielder earning captaincy before a managerial change cost him playing time and now the arm band. He’s expected to stay in Europe, though MLS teams would welcome his return.

Terrence Boyd, Darmstadt — Now with Bundesliga experience under his belt but relegated to the second tier, will Boyd try to leave his club in order to earn more caps?

Hearts boss names USMNT mid Kitchen captain: “He’s a natural”

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Perry Kitchen has come a long way.

From Mid American Conference soccer to DC United and the United States men’s national team, the hard-nosed 24-year-old midfielder has developed quite nicely.

The latest? Captain of Scottish side Hearts (or, if you prefer, jack of the Jambos).

[ MORE: EFL Cup draw inc. Manc. Derby ]

Kitchen has been named captain of the Scottish Premiership side just months after joining the club. Predictably, he’s pretty jazzed about the whole thing, and manager Robbie Neilson — a Hearts legend in his own right — says his young Yank deserves the honor and responsibility.

From HeartsFC.co.uk:

“I’ve been impressed by Perry’s attitude, desire and, of course, his performances from day one.

“He’s a natural and leads by example both on and off the park. He’s also a really good player and will inspire those around him to reach the highest standards.”

Hearts are second in the Premiership, three points behind Celtic.

Carlos Bocanegra had captained Rangers, but that was not a full-time job. This is a really strong nod for Kitchen, who’s been on the periphery of the USMNT set-up for a while. Maybe this helps get him that look over Kyle Beckerman.

USMNT’s Kitchen goes 90 as Hearts clinch Europa League spot

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Perry Kitchen will be going to Europe if he stays with Hearts of Midlothian next season, as the Scottish side clinched a spot in the Europa League on Tuesday.

Hearts drew Inverness 0-0, guaranteeing a finish of no lower than third. Kitchen went 90 minutes in the draw, his fourth-straight start for Hearts.

[ MORE: Porter updates Nagbe injury status ]

The hard-nosed midfielder has made five appearances in total since arriving on a free transfer after DC United didn’t meet his wage demands.

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann called it “a huge move” for Kitchen.

USMNT’s January camp has recent history of producing reliable first-teamers

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As the years have gone by, and U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has had more and more time to make his mark on the U.S. program — expanding the player pool sits atop the list of positives of his tenure — the USMNT’s annual January camp has become less about debuting stars of the future, and more about extending an opportunity for the lesser heralded American player to shine — about one player each of Klinsmann’s four full years in the job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

As such, recent history has shown January camp is much less likely to produce a future standout for the USMNT, and much more likely to unearth a hidden gym capable of becoming a regular contributor. The following players have used January call-ups and debuts to launch their USMNT careers to varied successes…

Gyasi Zardes, forward, January camp class of 2015 — Zardes made a staggering 19 appearances for the USMNT in 2015, after emerging the main bright spot in last year’s camp and ensuing friendlies. In his first 19 caps, Zardes managed to bag three goals while playing mostly as a left winger in Klinsmann’s 4-2-3-1(-ish) system. Like the rest of the names on this list, Zardes hasn’t been, and likely never will be, a superstar for the USMNT, but remains a useful and growing contributor 12 months after his debut.

[ MORE: USA vs. Iceland preview — USMNT kicks off 2016 on Sunday ]

DeAndre Yedlin, defender, January camp class of 2014 — Yedlin’s USMNT debut came on Feb. 1, 2014, and six short months later, the now-22-year-old had become an overnight sensation at the 2014 World Cup and signed for Premier League giant Tottenham Hotspur. Now on loan at Sunderland, Yedlin remains a first-team regular for the USMNT, if not a full-time starter. Yet another reminder: sports are all about opportunities, and what you do with them when they come along.

[ MORE: 5 USMNT players with the most to gain from upcoming friendlies ]

Matt Besler, defender, January camp class of 2013 — There has been no more timely emergence of a must-start-every-game player in quite some time than Besler, who in two months’ time in 2012 went from making his USMNT debut in January, to part of the team that drew 0-0 at Mexico’s Estadio Azteca in March, to anchoring the defense during a series of World Cup qualifiers in June. Three years later, Besler is still a virtually undroppable player.

[ MORE: Matt Miazga unveiled by Chelsea | Hiddink: “Squad player for future” ]

Graham Zusi, midfielder, January camp class of 2012 — Zusi’s rise from “nice MLS player” to USMNT regular happened pretty quickly; after making his debut in January 2012, the Sporting Kansas City attacker had amassed 28 of his 32 caps thus far by the end of 2014. That run obviously included the 2014 World Cup, where Zusi notched a pair of assists as the USMNT advanced to the round of 16. Now somewhat on the outside looking in, Zusi is just an injury or two — or a red-hot month or two of club form — away from being right back in the picture.

[ MORE: Freddy Adu is cool with his soccer career, and we should be too ]

Class of 2016 newcomers to keep an eye on

Perry Kitchen, midfielder, free agent

Tony Tchani, midfielder, Columbus Crew SC

Ethan Finlay, midfielder, Columbus Crew SC

Tim Parker, defender, Vancouver Whitecaps

Kellyn Acosta, midfielder, FC Dallas

Matt Polster, midfielder/defender, Chicago Fire