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Excitement grows for footballers’ families

Family affair: Nahki Wells with his father, Michael, and stepmother, Coral (Photograph supplied)

Family members of Bermuda footballers said the national team would feel the support of the island when the squad takes centre stage at the Concacaf Gold Cup.

Coral Wells said that she predicted a “huge following” for the Bermuda side.

Ms Wells, the stepmother of star striker Nahki Wells, added: “I would expect that every day they are playing overseas you’re going to see no work being done.

“I think that all eyes will be glued to wherever it’s being watched.”

She was speaking yesterday ahead of Bermuda’s debut match at the tournament.

Bermuda will play Haiti tomorrow at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.

The team will play its second game of the group stage against Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium, in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday.

Ms Wells, from Pembroke, will watch from the stands when the team takes on Nicaragua at Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, New Jersey, on June 24.

She said that a “huge” group of Bermudians would pack into the stands.

Ms Wells added: “I know there’s other people going to the other two. So hopefully that will just show what it really means.”

She will be joined by her husband, Michael, and Nahki’s sister Ciarra, age 11, at the team’s third fixture.

Ms Wells said the family planned to don team jerseys and wave flags in their seats. She added: “We will definitely show all of our support.”

Casey Butterfield said the team would feel the presence of travelling fans.

He added: “We’re just going up and trying to make as much noise and support as much as we can, let the world know that Bermuda is in the stadium.”

Mr Butterfield, the father of midfielder Milan Butterfield, said it meant a lot to be able to support the team and represent Bermuda at the tournament.

He added: “I’m boiling up with emotion. I can’t wait for the first ball to be kicked.”

Mr Butterfield, from Hamilton Parish, will also be cheering the side on at its New Jersey game.

He said: “As soon as they made the draw and I found out, my ticket was booked that night.”

Mr Butterfield said he will be joined by his wife, Tawana, as well as other family members, and that flags and Bermuda memorabilia would be part of their in-stand show of support.

Mr Butterfield, who coached his son from the age of six, said that the tournament was the biggest stage Bermuda football had been on. He added: “I haven’t seen anything of this magnitude. For Milan and the country to be involved is exciting.”

Mr Butterfield said that he expected the team to do Bermuda proud. He added: “I think we have a great chance of getting into that [round of] 16 — but we’ve got to get past Haiti. I’m just hoping that we put the right team out there.”

Ms Wells said: “I truly believe that they are going to make it an awesome three games.”