SpongeBob’ Manders soaking up the pro game
Taurean Manders has set his sights on forcing his way into Bermuda’s World Cup squad after making a promising start to his professional football career in Canada.
Manders has played in all three of Capital City FC’s matches this season after putting pen-to-paper on a one-year contract last month.
His all-action style of play has already made him a popular figure in the dressing room, with his team-mates nicknaming the diminutive defender “SpongeBob” in reference to the popular cartoon character for his ability to out-jump opponents who are twice his size.
Manders said: “I have settled in pretty well so far; it makes it a bit easier that it’s a young team so there are more guys to relate to.
“The biggest change is the competition for places, also the attitude that it’s not so much recreational or just for the love of the game; it’s a job.
“We have had three games so far and I have played full 90 minutes for all of them. I’ve felt good about my performances for the most part.”
This is the first season Capital City have played in the Canadian Soccer League which is physically more challenging than the Bermuda Premier Division, said Manders, whose team take on Brampton United at home tonight.
“The league is very competitive, there are many players who have been part of the Canadian national team at some age group or another, and others who have played in Europe and Major League Soccer,” he said.
“Talent and potential-wise there is not much separation from Bermuda players, but the attitude and willingness to do the simple things is the difference.”
The versatile Manders played a key role in North Village’s title winning campaign and still hopes to feature in next year’s CFU Club Championships for the Rams, as it will be held during Capital City’s off-season.
“There is actually a chance to join Village in the CFU campaign because it’s during the off-season and depending on the schedule and the rules, it could be a possibility,” said the ex-Bradenton Academicals player.
“But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
“Right now I’m just focused on pushing my career forward as much as I can and hopefully move onto other things from here.”
Manders, son of former Somerset Cup Match skipper Andre Manders, has also declared his desire to be part of the Bermuda national team’s 2014 World Cup qualifying squad, which could begin as early as September.
“I have yet to play a competitive FIFA competition for Bermuda so if the opportunity came to be part of the World Cup qualifying campaign I would definitely look to play a part if possible,” he said.
It’s taken Manders plenty of sweat and toil to reach the pro ranks but he said he couldn’t have managed it without the help of his parents.
“There is just one thing I wanted to say and haven’t had the chance yet; just to thank my parents and family for the support to get me here.
“As much sacrifices I made they had to make some too. So had to show a little appreciation to them,” he said.
Ottawa-based Capital City, who are coached by former Everton assistant Shaun Harris, joined the Canadian Soccer League in March.
They were founded by Neil Malhotra and play at Terry Fox Athletic Facility in Mooney’s Bay Park.
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