Toronto FC fans have known about Jordan Hamilton for years. He was long considered one of the most promising players that the club, even the country of Canada, had to offer. When he played for Canada at the youth level he was the first choice striker, ahead of reigning MLS rookie of the year Cyle Larin. Then Larin found an opening on an MLS roster, Hamilton has yet to have that chance.
Having signed a senior deal in 2014, that chance may finally be coming two years later as Toronto FC scramble to fill a sudden hole at striker. With Jozy Altidore out for six to eight weeks, the club's backup plan, rookie Mo Babouli, has been unexpectedly thrust into a starting role. This means a vacancy in terms of attacking options of the bench, and Hamilton the only option Toronto FC has left.
At 20 years of age, Hamilton may still have a long and prosperous soccer career ahead of him. Player's develop in different ways after all. But after two years and only 14 minutes played at the senior level, Hamilton's time may be running out with Toronto FC. The current striker crisis might be enough of an opening to finally give Hamilton a chance to prove he was worth all the hype.
It is a chance he might have already gotten, if he was not away with the Canadian men's U-23 side for a pair of friendlies in South America. He came off the bench to score the final goal in a 5-1 win over Guyana, and then started in Canada's 3-1 win over Grenada.
Now, presumably, he's back in town and is one of only three healthy forwards Toronto FC currently has under senior contract. If that isn't enough to at least get him a seat on the TFC bench than he has fallen much further down the depth chart than anyone could have foreseen this season.
It was a season that got off to a fairly positive start, as Hamilton impressed during preseason. He scored three goals and added an assist in 9 presseason games. Only Sebastian Giovinco had more goals for Toronto FC in preseason.
Since then, however, he has failed to play a single minute for the senior side. With Toronto FC II in the USL, he has not impressed either. Hamilton has played just three games at the USL level, and has no goals or assists. Last season, he also struggled to take a step forward in his career with TFC II.
But, sometimes, all it takes is a chance at the senior level for a player to impress. Hamilton's development seems to have stagnated. But for most of his career he has been known for being able to score, regardless of the level at which he plays. Maybe, just maybe, that will translate to the MLS level.
The time is now for Jordan Hamilton to finally, after all this time and hype, get a shot to back it up with the senior team. If it doesn't happen now, then maybe it never will.