Six months after midfielder Perry Kitchen left D.C. United to sign for Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian F.C., now comes word that coach Robbie Neilson has appointed Kitchen team captain for the 2016/17 season, the first American in Hearts history to hold the role, and replaces defender Alim Ozturk as armband-wearer. Kitchen is not unaccustomed to the role of captain, having done so at the US U-17 residency and again, as Vice-Captain, during the USA’s unsuccessful Olympic qualification run in 2012.
Since coming over in March, the 24-year old Kitchen quickly impressed Hearts fans with his play, helping them to third in Hearts’ first season back in the Scottish first tier after having survived administration. Kitchen appeared in the United States’ January camp and was part of the roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario, but did not appear in any games on the latter.
Kitchen did not appear in Hearts’ opener due to injury but has appeared in the next 5 games, starting in the last 4, as Hearts are tied for 2nd with St. Johnstone in the SPL, with both clubs behind first-place Celtic.