Femi, we barely knew ya. Selected 51st overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, the Indiana University product defied all odds and expectations to become a super sub of sorts during his rookie season with the New England Revolution.
Lining up as a striker and winger, Femi snagged two goals and assist under head coach Jay Heaps, tempting fans with potential and exuberance. Even though his inaugural MLS campaign was plagued some by a nagging hamstring injury, one couldn’t help but wonder how productive Femi could become for the Revs down the road.
Then the Expansion Draft rolled around.
Minnesota United FC, which will begin MLS play in 2017, picked the 23-year-old with the 10th and final pick of the Expansion Draft on Tuesday. Atlanta United FC, a fellow expansion side, passed on Femi altogether, and the Revs were oh so close to escaping the process unscathed.
Such hopes weren’t in the cards, though, and Femi is now a Loon. To commemorate Femi’s time with the Revs, we look back at some of his top moments with the club. Do you have any more? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
1.) Jonathan – Femi only played 273 minutes for New England, but he definitely made every second of that count. Whether it was through sheer will or undeniable determination, he simply made plays. This was on display in the Revs' 4-2 loss to the LA Galaxy back on May 21, a match in which the Indiana University product played the last half hour. He sparked hopes of a comeback, though, setting up a Juan Agudelo side volley with a header back across goal.
As the above video shows, there's nothing flashy about Femi's play there, but it doesn't have to be. He'd buzz around the pitch, testing defenders as games wore on and tired legs set in. Still, it's important to note that questions aplenty remain with Femi. Is he more of a winger or an out-and-out striker? Can his bursts of energy translate to a full 90 minutes? What's his potential or ceiling? Minnesota is surely hoping answers to those quandaries surface throughout the 2017 season.
2.) Seth – The Batman cleats.
It's not every day that you see a grown athlete wear Batman footwear. With this in mind, I was pretty excited to learn about Femi's cleats, which featured the Batman symbol on the heels. I thought there would surely be a unique story to tell; one that might even draw extra eyes to my writing.
During a post-game interview, I asked the striker about his fashion choice. His answer was simple: Under Armour sent him the cleats and he liked them. I tried to dig deeper because there had to be more. A couple of short answers later, I abandoned my mission and the article I hoped to write became a solitary tweet.
Asked Femi about the Batman cleats. No real story. Under Armour sent them and he liked them (cc: @TotalMLS) #NERevs— Seth (@SethMan31) May 1, 2016
Although he didn't say much in the locker room, Femi was a class act that was always willing to be interviewed. He clearly considered himself blessed to be playing professional soccer after all that he had gone through during his life. I wish him nothing but the best as he heads to Minnesota. That said, he better not give anyone a better answer in regards to the Batman cleats.
3.) Jake – The Equalizer that Wasn't.
Officially, Femi scored his first professional goal on May 14th against the Chicago Fire to seal a 2-0 win at Gillette. Unofficially, he netted the equalizer three weeks prior against the Portland Timbers to salvage a 1-1 draw. The only problem was that Jermaine Taylor's thigh got in the way.
There's nothing fancy about this play, it's all hustle from Femi who gets into a good position and didn't have to do much other than get something on the ball to score the goal. Instead, it goes down as an own goal. But these are the types of plays that coaches remember when they're filling out the starting lineup and making substitutions. Three days after this game, Hollinger-Janzen got his first start, a 70 minute shift against Orlando, and I don't think that was a coincidence.
Alas, the energy and hustle that Femi showed off the bench will be in Minnesota next year, which means the Revs have to find someone else to fill that role next season.