Arriving from the American capital last week, few Dundee United fans knew who the baby faced American they had just signed was.
They know now though, with Ian Harkes turning in a wonderful debut performance, scoring in Dundee United’s 4-0 Scottish Cup victory over Montrose.
A highly thought of American youth product, Harkes played with DC United until the end of 2018, but after limited game time moved to Scotland to play at Tannadice. Now 23, this is Harkes’ chance to become a breakout star.
Harkes has tangerine connections
Son of former USA captain John, expectations were high for the young midfielder. These expectations rose when Harkes won the 2016/17 Hermann Trophy as the top US college player while at Wake Forest. He signed with DC United after winning that accolade and looked set to become the MLS’ next big star.
An energetic but equally creative midfielder, it just never worked out for the American in Washington. Initially a starter during his first season, he soon lost his place in the DC side to Junior Moreno and Russel Carnouse, before being released in 2018. He made 33 appearances for the capital side, scoring two goals.
Harkes last played competitively in New York for DC. He would have got a shock when he turned up at Links Park to take on Montrose. His debut couldn’t have gone much better though, replacing Cammy Smith 20 minutes from time, and scoring United’s final goal of the afternoon in stoppage time.
This goal would have no doubt pleased his granddad James, who supported the Terrors as a kid before moving stateside. Through his grandfather, Harkes will know the expectations required to be a success at Tannadice.
The American displayed his potential in this short outing against Montrose. Harkes clearly has potential, and you can see why he was once America’s most valuable college footballer.
It’s only a start, but the midfielder looks to be an excellent capture for Robbie Neilson. The American will be one to watch in the second half of the Championship season.