Reno 1868 FC secured one of the top players in the United Soccer League on Christmas Day, the team announced Monday morning.

Midfielder/forward Antoine Hoppenot will return to Reno next season as the team’s 2017 co-MVP agreed to a new contract pending league and federation approval. 

Hoppenot, 27, was one of the main components to Reno’s explosive offense that tallied a USL-record 75 goals in its inaugural season. Hoppenot scored 12 goals and notched six assists during 2017 to go along with 51 chances created. 

“Antoine is one of the top players in our league and we’re excited to have him back in Reno next season,” Reno head coach Ian Russell said. “His attacking skill-set was on full display during last season’s campaign. 

“When he moved up top from the midfield position, he really created a dynamic that made it hard for opposing teams to defend.” 
Indeed, Hoppenot’s switch from midfielder to forward in May paid dividends for Reno 1868 FC. He both provided another scoring option alongside USL MVP

Dane Kelly and created opportunities for others making runs to the box. 

USL Rookie of the Year and new San Jose Earthquakes signee Chris Wehan credited much of his growth to Hoppenot’s mentorship while in Reno. 

“Hop was a great person to be around as a rookie,” Wehan said back in November. “He’s a veteran of the game and just an all-around great teammate and friend.”

Hoppenot, who is on holiday in his native France, said he’s pumped about returning to the “Biggest Little City” in 2018. 

“I’m very excited to be coming back to Reno 1868 FC,” Hoppenot said. “I am excited to see everyone at Greater Nevada Field and hopefully we can score a lot of goals again in 2018.

“I am happy to play with a bunch of the guys from last year that are coming back next season. I am excited to play for Ian again and it’s going to be a great season.” 

(Reno 1868 FC)