DeGraff calls time on playing career
Bermudas Digicel Caribbean Cup qualifying plans have suffered a setback with the loss of senior player Sammy DeGraff.
The influential midfielder has retired from playing international football, leaving a huge void for the national coaching staff to fill in the lead up to next months regional tournament in Haiti.
Andrew (national coach Andrew Bascome) invited me out but I knew I wasnt going to be a part of it, DeGraff said. Anything can happen and things change, but Im pretty sure I wont be involved with the national squad anymore at least as a player.
The senior national squad are due to travel to Haiti September 5 where they will bid to progress to the second round of Digicel Caribbean Cup qualifiers.
DeGraff, 31, is confident his former national squad team mates will cope well in his absence.
I think the national team will be fine, he said. During the last World Cup campaign you could clearly see the torch has been passed.
I think this is the most international players weve had on the national team, players like Nahki, Reggie, Freddie and Taurean. Nearly everyone on the team has already had international experience so I think the future looks bright.
I just hope the administration (BFA) can be organised to get the guys together in a timely fashion so that we can prepare right to maximise the talent we have.
The Whitney Institute music teacher holds newly appointed senior national coach Bascome in high regards.
Ive talked to Andrew on numerous occasions and seen him play as a player coming up so I have a lot of respect for him and happy that he can finally get this opportunity and just hope the team does well, DeGraff said. My experience with Andrew has always been a good one and hopefully everyone elses will be just as good.
I know his philosophy of the game is one that I hold dear as well in terms of how the game is played. Hopefully the players get on board and can respect him and do the things he asks and Bermuda can do well in upcoming competitions.
DeGraff has also retired from playing domestic football for North Village Rams but hasnt ruled out the possibility of making cameo appearances in the future if need be.
Ive stepped down as the captain of Village and not looking to play at all to be honest, he said. If the coach needs me and circumstances allow me to play then I will make myself available. But Im not going to be able to commit fully to the campaign next season.
DeGraffs passion for the game has diminished due to other commitments that have taken higher priority in his life.
My love of the game has deteriorated and its been a combination of things, he said. I am getting married next month and have also given my heart completely over to God and just trying to do his work, which takes some of my time away.
I still love the game itself, but my passion and love for the game is not as great as it was before. Sometimes Im playing but not feeling like I am out there and people are paying to see me play and Im only giving half-effort, which I dont think is fair to them.
Although I look young Im getting older and slowing down and so I have to be honest with myself and recognise its time.