Clemons set to make Swedish bow
Willie Clemons is poised to make his professional debut with Swedish side Bodens in their league season opener away to Hudiksvalls today.
The Bermuda midfielder penned a two-year deal for the club, who play in the fourth tier of the Swedish game, last month and is now chomping at the bit to showcase his talents at that level.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Clemons told The Royal Gazette. “We have a good group of guys here; a lot of youth, but good players.
“The coach is young as well and we all share the same ambitions. We feel we can definitely have a go at the league title and it is our main target.”
The 23-year-old player left Bermuda in January to participate in the Professional Soccer Consulting Baltic Showcase Tour in Latvia and Estonia in the hope of landing a professional deal.
He was recommended by national team-mate Dante Leverock, who also plays his trade in Europe with Estonian top-flight side Narva Trans, to take part in the tour.
“PSC, the company that helped me sign in Estonia, asked me if there were any Bermudian players I thought could make the grade and Willie was the first person that came to mind, so I recommended him,” Leverock said. “He’s a young, hungry player with all the skill in the world and I knew he had the ability to make it.
“I’m so glad he’s realised a dream of being professional, now I hope he works hard and reaches the highest level possible.”
Clemons, a former Southampton Rangers player, was initially offered a deal to play for Estonian top-flight outfit Viljandi Tulevik, but turned them down after both parties were unable to come to a contract agreement.
Clemons made an immediate impact after joining Boden, helping his new club win a preseason tournament in which he was named the most valuable player.
He toured the Caribbean last month with the national squad, who lost to 3-2 against Antigua and Barbuda and drew 0-0 with Barbados.
“I’ve just returned from a tour with the national team so getting back up to speed here is essential,” he said.
“But I will be ready and the main thing is to stay fit and put in good performances week in week out.
“It’s been an awful preseason for me, personally, with the tour and all.”
Clemons started the domestic season with BAA who went on to win the First Division and gain promotion to the top-flight for the first time in more than two decades in his absence.
“Shout out to the boys back home on topping the First Division table,” he said. “Well done BAA!
“A lot of hard work over the course of the season and it’s nothing less than we deserve.”
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