In October 2016, Kymani Hines, his mother and brother emigrated from the island of Jamaica to Long Island. Hines, whose first name orginates from East Africa, means “adventurous traveler,” said goodbye to the palm trees and consistent warm weather but not his culture and soccer striking skills.
A big fan of the term, “ya, mon,” he joined the Amityville soccer team last season, totaling 17 goals and nine assists as a junior. This season, the striker has 10 goals and 10 assists through Friday, and is Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.
Soccer fans knew Hines on the old island. Now, with all of his success, fans are getting to know him on this one.
“I like Long Island a lot. I just don’t like the cold,” Hines chuckled. “But everything is going well for me so far and I can’t ask for anything more. I have good guys around me and a great set of guys on the team.”
Hines, who hails from Kingston, was born into a soccer family. He would watch his father and uncles play and joined the game as a 5-year-old. His father would place the ball at his feet and let him kick it around.
“I knew the sport from a very young age,” Hines said. “It wasn’t hard to gravitate toward it. My family members are soccer players and that motivates me. I always knew I wanted to be a professional player.”
After that, there was no looking back. He played on the Jamaican U-17 national team, earning him a high-performance reputation on that island. His move to Amityville hasn’t changed anything.
“When Hines came over, I knew he was very talented,” coach Mike Abbondondolo said. “But later I learned he really cares about the team. He has his individual goals but he isn’t worried about them or his accolades. He’s more concerned with the team winning a championship.”
A mentality that rings true for the whole team after going undefeated in the league last season and losing in the Suffolk Class A championship against Hauppauge, 2-1.
“The bad taste is still in my mouth,” Hines said. “We’re hitting the peak at this moment. I’m not worried about goals. We need to not think about anything else, take it a game at a time and get the job done.”
That is exactly what the Warriors are doing. They remain undefeated going 13-0-1 overall and 11-0-1 in Suffolk V.
As Hines said, he isn’t worried about being the leading scorer of the team. On game days, the self-proclaimed “funny guy” can be seen joking around and dancing on the sidelines. He’ll say a prayer and put a serious face on for the game.
After a win, he’ll go home and the smell of oxtail or jerk chicken will waft through the air. Music will be blaring and his family will surround him with laughter, making him feel at home.
But home for Hines is really on the soccer field and he has one thing on his mind.
“The goal is to go up to Middletown and come back to Amityville with a state championship,” Hines said.
“Ya mon,” that would be great.