DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, April 29, 2009
With his contract at Wolfsburg finally near its end, California native Kamani Hill has begun an extended trial at Portuguese Liga club Vitoria de Guimaraes.

Despite only being at the club since Monday, Hill has already found himself impressed by his surroundings, with the sentiment being reciprocated by those who have had the chance to see him at work.

"The reception at the club was great," Hill told YA. "The players are good guys and friendly."

"The Portuguese media gave me pretty positive write ups after the first day of training so I'm hoping to build on that."

As is often the case with Americans trying their hand in European leagues, it was a personal connection that offered the former Under-20 player the opening to work with a new team.

"Guimaraes is the home town of Alex Costa, with whom I have become good friends with over my 2.5 years in Wolfsburg," he explains.

"He's told me great things about the atmosphere at the club, the supporters and has always suggested that my style of play will fit in well with the Portuguese [league]."

"He put in a call to the club and we sent some tapes. The feedback was positive, so now I'm here for ten days to two weeks."

Hill had spent several days early in the year training with German 3. Liga team Erzgebirge Aue, impressing coaches enough to garner a contract offer, however ultimately decided to wait for a better crop of opportunities sure to be available in the summer.

Even though he hopes to ultimately find a place with northern Portuguese team, Hill keeps an open mind about his search for a new home over the coming months, knowing that his relatively early start gives him a little more freedom to avoid any rushed decisions.

"I don't have anything lined up for sure," Hill says of further trials after his open-ended period with Guimaraes. "I think when going on trials it's better to take things one step at time, watch how it unfolds and make decisions accordingly."

While having not having taken the field competitively for Wolfsburg since making several appearances with their Under-23 team in Regionalliga competition in the 2007-08 season, the former UCLA Bruin knows that he should have no problems finding a new home, whether it be with Guimaraes or in the country where he's spent the last two years of his career.

"I do have other possibilities in the 2. Bundesliga and maybe here in Portugal if things don't work out at Guimaraes," he clarifies, admitting "but I hope they do"

If signed, Hill would be joining a team that has spent all but a single season over the last 50 years in Portugal's top flight and has found themselves regularly competing on the European stage during the last 20 years.