Wells wants young Bermuda players to follow his lead
Bradford City striker Nahki Wells hopes to inspire the next generation of Bermudian players to follow their dreams of turning professional.
Wells’ goalscoring exploits this season have made a role model for aspiring youngsters with ambitions of leaving the Island to pursue winning a pro contract.
And the ex-Dandy Town man believes there’s more talent to come off the Island’s production line that has churned out top UK players such as Clyde Best, Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne.
“I look up to the likes of Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne, who made it in England, and use their careers as an example to ignite mine,” he said.
“There are a lot of hungry, younger Bermudians who have seen me come over here. It’s all about the timing and the right move.
“People are always contacting me to see how things are going. They are behind me and hopeful that my career blossoms.
“I suppose I am considered as a role model but I’m just trying to do the best for myself, my family and my country.”
The 21-year-old admits the domestic league is not of a particularly high standard but believes programmes such as the Bermuda Hogges are helping broadening the horizons of local players.
“The league’s not the best in Bermuda because there are no professionals. There is no money being pumped into the sport,” said Wells, who played a season at the Hogges.
“Obviously you play every week but it’s just for fun. It’s not your job because you’re not getting paid.
“That’s why it’s so difficult for the sport to expand. I wish it had some money involved to improve things.
“The USL pushed that team (the Bermuda Hogges), which helped the national side to get better because we were competing against professional players. But you need more competition on the island.
“It’s slowly getting better but I would love it if some time in my lifetime you could see Bermudian sport go to the next level.”
Despite Bermuda’s footballing struggles, Wells is adamant the national team can more than punch above their weight and compete with any Caribbean nation.
“It’s always been the number one sport but Bermuda is a very small country,” he said.
“But we do well. There are not a lot of countries our size who can compete with the much bigger Caribbean islands in terms of any competition.
“We play the likes of Jamaica, who are 25 times the size of Bermuda. Our population is miles smaller but we still compete with these countries.
“It’s very difficult to be a top Caribbean country in the CONCACAF region. But sport is such a big thing in Bermuda. There is a lot of quality and slowly players are making it out of there.”
The UK-based RIASA programme run by ex-Bradford winger Mark Ellis has opened the door for the likes of Wells and national goalkeeper Tahj Bell, who has also been training with the Bantams while turning out for non-league Eccleshill.
Rico Wells, Nahki’s younger brother, is also hoping to one day make the grade.
Wells said: “Rico came here last year before I’d even signed anywhere. Dave Baldwin (City director of operations) got him a few days of training here and he played against a couple of youth teams.
“He also got the chance to train at Hull and has to work on a few things from feedback. But hopefully he’ll get another opportunity.”
Wells has scored five goals for City since joining them in the summer, including a wonder strike against Rochdale in the first round of the FA Cup.