Andre Hainault is officially a Staggie.
The Houston Dynamo on Thursday confirmed a report from the Houston Chronicle that the Canadian international has signed with Ross County of the Scottish Premier League, ending his four-year run in orange.
“Andre reached out to [head coach] Dominic Kinnear today to tell him he’s signed with Ross County, so we can confirm that he is officially moving on,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “Andre was a very good signing for us when we brought him here in 2009. He had four very good years here, was on three playoff teams with two going to the final and the other getting close to the final.
“He was a very nice player for us, a great person, excellent in the community and we’re glad to have had him and are sorry to have lost him. We wish him the best in the future.”
Hainault’s exit is no surprise. After a standout 2011 season, he saw his minutes diminish in 2012 and ultimately lost his right back spot to Kofi Sarkodie late in the season. With his contract expiring this winter, the Quebec native made it known that he wanted to explore his options and the Dynamo have started to make plans to move, beginning with a trade for center back Eric Brunner from the Portland Timbers.
The loss of Hainault does, however, make the decision of Duke University center back and Dynamo Academy product Sebastien Ibeagha to return to school instead of accepting a Homegrown contract offer hurt more as he would have been a young, quality addition on the backline.
With the move, depth in back becomes more of a priority.
The Dynamo feel good about their current group, including their starting four, but with only six defenders on the roster and more than 40 games in 2013, Houston will likely turn their attention to adding to the backline – whether through the draft or other means – before their slate starts in March.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.