New faces in Hogges’ squad
Bermuda Hogges’ coach Maurice Lowe has made several surprise selections in his 28-man squad for the Premier Development League (PDL) season.
Newcomers Travis Wilkinson and Shakir Smith both feature along with Devonshire Cougars duo Chris Casey and Korvon Tucker.
Veteran Timmy Figureido has returned to the fold as one of three goalkeepers, while past Hogges players Antwan Russell, Kwame Steede, Lashun Dill and Domico Coddington have also been picked.
Keishen Bean has been handed the captain’s role, and there’s a first-time call-up for Bermuda international Jason Davis who impressed for Premier Division side Boulevard last season.
A change in the league rules allows each team to field eight players over the age of 23, with Lowe also including Darius Cox, Takeyhi Walker and Damon Ming to add a sprinkling of experience.
Lowe, who was recently appointed head coach, said he was satisfied with the make-up of his squad but admitted there were a few players he would have liked to include. The most notable absentees are Tyrell Burgess, Ajani Gibbons and keeper Freddy Hall, who is based in the UK.
“There are always players who you want to add but in the main we’ve got what we targeted. I think we’ve got cover in all departments; we’ve got a really good squad,” said Lowe, who also coaches First Division side BAA Wanderers.
Figureido is, by some distance, the oldest player in the Hogges squad and Lowe is convinced the team’s youngsters can benefit from having the 37-year-old in the dressing room.
“Timmy’s got a wealth of experience and it will be good to have him around,” he added.
Bermuda Football Association (BFA) youth director Devarr Boyles also feels it’s important to have an “old pro” like Figureido in the squad.
“Freddy is unavailable so we had a look around the goalkeeping landscape in Bermuda. Timmy has been helping us and he’s always kept himself in good shape and is ready to play,” said Boyles. “He almost becomes the old pro for us; if anyone needs a smart smack across the head he can provide that.”
Although new skipper Keishen Bean is only 24, he’s a veteran in terms of his international experience and Lowe had no reservations about handing the North Village striker the captain’s armband.
“Keishen Bean is the captain, his approach to football this year has been spot-on and he’s a leader for us he deserves it,” said Lowe.
Up first for the Hogges are high flying Reading United who top the Eastern Conference Mid-Atlantic Division after winning all four of their matches this season.
And Lowe is expecting a tough, physical game against the Pennsylvania-based outfit who were due to arrive on the Island yesterday.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, and that’s exactly what we want, that’s what this league offers us,” he said. “The competitive curve of this league prepares us well for what we’re trying to do for this country’s football. We’re looking to be more competitive this season and turn positive performances into positive results.”
Hogges will be able to add a few new faces throughout the season and assistant coach Boyles hopes out-of-contract professionals Reggie Lambe, Nahki Wells and Khano Smith can play a part.
“We’re preparing for the World Cup so we would be foolish not to include those players if we can, it all depends on what we can arrange,” said Boyles. “Nahki and Reggie will be heading back to England for pre-season training in July so we don’t want to stymie what they want to do.”
Hogges take on United at BAA Field tomorrow with kick-off at 7pm. Ticket prices have been set at $15 for adults and $10 for children.
Meanwhile, Hogges and Island Eatery have partnered together to offer fans a special food voucher. For $29 supporters will be able to get over $42 worth of food. Vouchers can be bought from the Pro Shop, Side Kicks in Washington Mall, Island Hi Eatery, BFA office and BAA field.
Bermuda Hogges squad for the 2011 season:
Goalkeepers Tahj Bell, Timmy Figureido, Mikkail Crockwell
Defenders Roger Lee, Daniel Andrade, Jaylon Bather, Korvon Tucker, Daruis Cox, Rakeem DeShields, Marquel Waldron, Reiko Trott
Midfielders Seion Darrell, Jason Davis, Chris Casey, Troy Tucker, Kwame Steede, Travis Wilkinson, Damon Ming
Forwards Keishen Bean, Takeyhi Walker, Antwan Russell, Domico Coddington, Angelo Simmons, Lashun Dill, Lejuan Simmons, Casey Castle, Quadir Maynard, Shakir Smith
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