Harri Hawkins has signed on with Penn FC and is currently enjoying the opportunity to make a mark on a new club.
“It was great to sign with Penn FC,” Hawkins said. “It’s essentially a new club this year so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Penn FC Head Coach Raoul Voss was equally excited to bring Hawkins into the squad and sees him as a special talent that flew under the radar.
“We knew about what kind of center back he was,” Voss said. “That’s why we signed him even though he was a player not many people knew about…we are very happy with him.”
Hawkins hails from Cambridge, England and came to the States for college, playing four years with Hofstra. With the Pride he made 58 appearances and scored 13 goals, including the overtime winner against Delaware which helped the Pride claim the CAA title. Hawkins was also named to the All-CAA First Team in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Following his time at Hofstra, Hawkins joined the New York Cosmos and spent time with both the New York Cosmos first team and New York Cosmos B of the NPSL. His time with the Cosmos first team included starting in the club’s 2-0 victory over La Liga’s Valencia CF.
With Cosmos B, Hawkins was a mainstay on defense, and helped the squad to six clean sheets in 2017 and also helped the team’s stellar defense who gave up just eight goals throughout the entire NPSL campaign.
Overall, Hawkins enjoyed his time with Cosmos B and credits it with helping to prepare him for playing as a professional.
“Cosmos B was a natural progression to the next level,” Hawkins said, “It was a very professional environment both there and with the first team and it was a great experience.”
Now that he’s with Penn FC, Hawkins wants to show what he can do and help the team’s backline.
“As a defender the first goal, of course, is to keep a clean-sheet,” Hawkins said. “But beyond that I want to help distribute the ball to the midfielders and make sure that we are staying positive.”
Because Penn FC is such a young team, Hawkins wants to make sure that he focuses on each game.
“Right now we’re essentially a new team with lots of young players so we are just taking it one game a time,” Hawkins said. “But we’re just going to keep rolling and hopefully we can make it to the playoffs but for now we are just taking it slow.”
And so far, Hawkins has adjusted to the USL level well. Penn FC Head Coach Raoul Voss has been particularly impressed by the defender’s improvement in his short time with the team.
“(Hawkins) had to learn certain things on the physical aspects,” Voss said. “He’s adapting fantastically to the league and the system. We are extremely pleased to have him here.”
Looking forward towards the rest of the season, Hawkins wants to continue improving and wants to continue to stay healthy so he can stay on the pitch and show what he can do.
“For me, I just want to stay healthy, play every game and give my very best in every game,” Hawkins said. “If we can make the playoffs that would of course be great too, but for now the focus is on one at a time.”
As for his renewed partnership with fellow Cosmos B alum Salvatore Barone? Their signing was purely coincidental, but Hawkins notes it was a happy coincidence to have a familiar face with the group.
“Just a coincidence actually,” Hawkins said with a laugh. “But it’s definitely a good one and I’m happy to be teammates with Barone again.”
USL attackers will have a tough time breaking through when Hawkins is on the pitch, and as his experience grows, his talent will definitely follow.