Hill agrees to join Blue Devils
Jahquil Hill has accepted an offer to play for semi-professional side Oakville Blue Devils in Canada.
The Bermuda goalkeeper is finalising the terms of his contract and awaiting international clearance to play for the Ontario League 1 champions, who played two friendly matches in Bermuda last week.
“I think this is going to be a very good opportunity for me to go over there and get some games and I’m looking forward to it,” Hill told The Royal Gazette.
“Oakville have a very good bunch of players who are also very organised and I’m looking forward to playing with them.
“It’s going to be a big change for me because I have been in England for six years so going to Canada is going to be different.”
The 21-year-old impressed the Blue Devils during their opening match against a Bermuda National Select at the National Stadium, as well as during a training session with the visiting side at BFA Field.
“It all happened so fast and was unexpected to be honest,” Hill said. “This is an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down.”
The Blue Devils clinched their spot in the 2018 Canadian Championship after winning the League 1 Ontario final last October. This season will be the first time that they are entered into the championship.
In 2017, the championship featured five clubs across three rounds, with Major League Soccer side Toronto FC winning the Voyageurs Cup and qualifying for Concacaf Champions League.
Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, hopes Hill makes the most of his opportunity.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for Jahquil,” Lightbourne said. “He’s been in England around the non-League teams for a while not really being a first-team regular until this season with Rushall Olympic. I think it’s a great opportunity for him and you never know who is watching.
“He’s definitely improving and growing. He works really hard at his game and deserves to be the No 1 for Bermuda right now, so I’m hoping he takes the opportunity with both hands.”
Hill has severed ties with Rushall but has not ruled out playing for another English club once Blue Devils’ season finishes in September.
“My ties with Rushall are over,” Hill said. “But I will be looking to return to England once the Ontario league season has ended.”
The Blue Devils lost 3-1 against Lightbourne’s Bermuda Select team before ending their two-match trip with a 2-1 win over a Premier Division All-Star Select at Goose Gosling Field.
Meanwhile, Robin Hood’s teenage striker Arnezha Astwood has accepted an offer to travel to Ontario and train with the Blue Devils.
Like Hill, Astwood was also invited to train with the team during their recent visit.
Last week the 16-year-old Berkeley Institute student was awarded a $4,100 grant from the Ministry of Social Development and Sport to further his development at the Reading Academy in England.
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