Riders look forward to tough test
Long Island Rough Riders plan to use their pre-season tour of Bermuda to dust off some cobwebs ahead of next season's Premier Development League (PDL).
Rough Riders, who have not played a competitive league match since July, arrive on the Island on Boxing Day for a week-long trip which will see them play two games against the Bermuda Under-20 national team as well as facing defending Premier Division champions, Dandy Town.
Head coach Paul Roderick, a former Everton trainee, is interested to see how his young side will fair against the Under-20s who are preparing for next month's World Cup preliminary qualifiers.
”This is going to be an excellent test for us, going against some tough competition,” said Roderick. “Playing against calibre, international talent like this will help prepare us for our upcoming season,” he told the club's website.
Both the Rough Riders and the Bermuda Football Association (BFA) are affiliates of the West Ham United International Academy who helped facilitate the Christmas tour.
Peter Zaratin, Rough Riders president, said: “A sort of Bermuda Triangle relationship made the trip a reality. Our affiliation with West Ham United International Academy made us aware of the opportunity.”
Mike Kelleher, partnership development manager for the West Ham United International Academy, also voiced his excitement about the upcoming event.
“The West Ham United International Academy is delighted to help facilitate this event in Bermuda,” Kelleher said. “Over the past year both the Long Island Rough Riders and the Bermuda Football Association have proved excellent partners to the International Academy.”
This is their second year the BFA have hosted an international tournament. Last Christmas saw Trinidad and Tobago's Under-23 team play two matches against the Bermuda Under-23s and a game against then defending champions Devonshire Cougars.
Rough Riders, who finished fourth in their PDL conference last term, kick-start their tour with a game against the Under-20s at Wellington Oval on Monday, December 27, before meeting defending Premier Division champions Dandy Town at Somerset Cricket Club on Wednesday, December 29.
They round off their visit with another match against the Under-20s at St David's on New Year's Day.