That was Jay Heaps’ response on Monday when asked about Olivier Kapo, a name that appeared on the Revolution’ preseason roster sheet issued to the press.
So who is Olivier Kapo, other than a player the Revolution coaching staff clearly has plans for this preseason?
For starters, he’s a 32-year-old left-sided midfielder/forward from the Ivory Coast with a resume features notable stops in top leagues such as Serie A, Ligue 1, and the English Premier League.
Kapo’s career has been an interesting one, to say the least. He’s in the midst of an 18-month contract with France’s AJ Auxerre, where he began his career in 1996 with the club’s youth team. Auxerre gave him a professional contract in 1999 and he proceeded to score 19 goals in 119 appearances.
His success in Ligue 1 earned him a look from the French National Team, with whom he played for in 2002 rather than his native Ivory Coast. Kapo’s international career extends only as far as the three goals he totaled in nine international appearances for France, though he did score in the 2003 Confederations Cup.
In 2004, Italian superclub Juventus signed Kapo on a free transfer from Auxerre, arguably the player’s highest profile career move. But Kapo didn’t make the most of his move to Juventus. Just 24 at the time, Kapo wasn’t experienced enough to adapt to the competitiveness of being on a team with the likes of Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and David Trezeguet and was subsequently loaned out back to France to play for Monaco and then Levante the following year.
In 2007, Kapo was sold to Birmingham City of the EPL for $4.75 million. And though he played regularly and registered 5 goals, he signed for Wigan Athletic a year later. From then on, Kapo’s career careened off the rails and he bounced from France (loan to Boulogne) to Scotland (Celtic) to Qatar (Al-Ahly), and back to France (Auxerre).
Kapo’s scoring record shows that he’s never been a player who tears holes in opposing team’s nets. Rather, he’s a finesse player who works as a target man. The Revolution haven’t had a true target player since Pat Noonan, and with four forwards on the roster who want to be more the finishing type than set-up type, Kapo could be valuable.
Bringing in Kapo on trial is a classic low-risk move for the club, but one that Heaps can’t help but be intrigued by. Yes, signing Kapo would require the Revolution to forfeit their eighth and final international roster spot. And yes, Kapo clearly knows what the going rate is for a player who’s played in some of the top clubs in the world.
But with Jerry Bengston likely gone for parts of the season as a result of national team duty with Honduras and Sene coming back from a serious injury, Kapo could be exactly what the Revolution will need to keep the offense firing on all cylinders this summer.
Brian O’Connell contributed to this story.