Brendan Hines-Ike is a 23-year old defender who plays in the Swedish Premier Division with Örebro SK. Born in Colorado, Hines-Ike is considered by many to be one of the finest centre-halves in the league.
Where he catches the eye of the Irish public, however, is the fact that he could be lining out for the Boys in Green in the not so distant future.
Hines-Ike has an Irish grandfather and has been on the FAI’s radar for almost two years and told Pundit Arena the long process of gaining his citizenship is almost completed.
“Yes, the first conversations began in 2016 after signing with Örebro SK when my agents first spoke with FAI about the possibility of playing for national team after getting my Irish citizenship.
“It was quite a long process, as first my mother had to apply for her citizenship. The FAI has been speaking with my agents about the update on the citizenship as it is in the final stages now.”
The 23-year old has gained a reputation over in Sweden with Örebro SK technical director Magnus Skoldmark calling him “one of the most talented defenders” in the country.
Hines-Ike outlined that it would be an honour to represent Ireland and that it’s something that he had been thinking about for quite some time.
“Absolutely it is (something I had been considering for a while). It would be a tremendous honor to represent Ireland at the highest level as I know it would make my family and myself very proud. If I am able to get my citizenship, I would wear the Irish jersey with great joy.
“I understand the wonderful history the country of Ireland has in the world of football and with that great privilege would come huge responsibility to represent the country the best I can.”
As a young man growing up in America and playing football in college, Hines-Ike outlined that the opportunity to play in the MLS did arise, but he explained his reasoning behind the unusual path to Europe that he decided to take.
“From a young age I always had great guidance in which path would be the best for me to take in my footballing career.
“One thing I noticed almost immediately after playing in Europe when I was very young and getting the chance again when I was 20 was that it is the best place in the world to develop talent.
“Yes of course I had the opportunity to play in the MLS but I didn’t see a high possibility of playing time and most importantly the crucial development I needed. So I chose the Swedish Allsvenskan because it is a fantastic league for young players to get chances and be educated heavily in football.”
The young defender’s performances for Örebro have not gone unnoticed. Hines-Ike had been linked with a move to a Holland in May with his side currently sitting in 8th in the Allsvenskan.
For now, however, the Colorado native explained that he is simply focused on doing his best for his current club.
“Yes it is true that I have been in contact with quite a few big clubs throughout Europe and for that, I am very humbled.
“For now my focus is on Örebro SK and helping them the best I can. My family, agents, and myself are all working together very closely to make sure the next move I make is the right one to continue my development and keep me on the path I have started.”
Hines-Ike has clear ambitions in the game. The way in which he speaks outlines the desire that he has to become one of the very best in his position.
“My ambitions are absolutely to play in one of the biggest leagues in the world in the next 5 years” begins Hines-Ike.
“I am very disciplined with my training and I crave learning the most I can when It comes to football education as a player.”
As his citizenship edges closer, so too may a call-up to Martin O’Neill’s squad as the Irish manager continues to rebuild a squad that could not qualify for this year’s World Cup.
“It would be an absolutely tremendous honour to receive an Irish call-up,” insists Hines Ike who is also still on the radar of his home country America.
Whether the Boys in Green come calling or not, there’s no doubt that Brendan Hines-Ike has all the tools to be a top player in European football.