Irish Players with Hamilton Croatia
From reading GreenScene, you probably know that two Irish players currently play with Hamilton Academical in Scotland (Jim Goodwin and Dave Elebert). It was also the home of Ireland’s rising midfield star James McCarthy before his £1.2 million transfer to Wigan. But how about the two Irishmen currently playing with the other Hamilton, Hamilton Croatia, from Ontario in Canada.
Hamilton Croatia play in the Canadian Soccer League, the top tier of association football in Canada (although the MLS in the US is ranked above it). As their name states, they were founded by Croatians living in the city of Hamilton in 1957. They formerly played in the Ontario Soccer League, but won promotion to the CSL to play their first ever top flight season in 2010. They are currently ranked 5th after 20 games, just five points behind the leaders.
FC Hamilton Croatia have a small enough squad, but include two Irish players amongst their ranks. Number 14, forward Aidan O’Keefe, and number 15, midfielder John Reilly.
28 year old Aidan O’Keefe plays primarily as a striker. He is a former League of Ireland winner, having been a member of the 2007 Drogheda United team. He has also played for Bohemians and St. Pat’s, as well as spending time on loan at Kilkenny City and Dublin City. This is his first season in the CSL. It’s difficult to find statistics for the CSL, but as of the 27th of July, O’Keefe had scored 9 goals in 12 games.
John Reilly, known by the fans as “Rocco”, is a right midfielder. This is his first season playing in Canada, having previously kitted out for a number of league teams in Ireland. He played for UCD, Kildare County, Longford Town, and Monaghan United before emigrating.