Hogges withdraw from league
Bermuda Hogges have pulled out of the USL’s Premier Development League due to financial difficulties less than a week before the start of the season.
Hogges were due to open their Mid Atlantic Division campaign against Reading United at Goose Gosling Field on Friday, but have been forced to withdraw from the league at the eleventh hour due to lack of sponsorship.
The team’s owner Paul Scope said Hogges had failed to raise sufficient funds to cover the cost of the 2013 season.
“The Bermuda Hogges will not be participating in the Mid Atlantic Division of the PDL this USL season,” Scope said in a statement.
“After six seasons in the USL, we have advised the league management that we had not raised sufficient sponsorship and the level of funding needed to fulfil its 2013 season obligations.
“We regret the short notice and apologise to all the teams in the Mid Atlantic Division for the inconvenience and wish them the very best for the season and beyond.”
Scope believed Hogges had succeeded in their mission to improve football in Bermuda, particularly the national team, while helping develop some of the Island’s most prominent players.
“Since our formation in 2007 the Hogges have played over 100 games and brought over a 1,000 visitors to the Island, said Scope, who thanked the support of the team’s sponsors and Bermuda Football Association (BFA) for ‘effectively operating the team for the last three seasons.’
“We believe we have fulfilled our mission to improve football in Bermuda in general and the national team in particular.
“It has been very satisfying to help develop the careers of Khano Smith, Nahki Wells, Freddy Hall, Reggie Lambe and Antwan Russell as well as advising numerous other players on their choices overseas.”
Despite having to pull the plug on Hogges’ 2013 campaign, Scope said the team’s recent partnership with English non-league side Ilkeston FC would continue.
“We will continue our work in placing players overseas and are particularly enthused over our association with Ilkeston FC,” he said. “We believe this association will benefit many of our young Bermudian males over the coming years.”
The BFA have praised Scope and the Hogges for the opportunities they provided the Island’s promising young players.
“Paul Scope led the Hogges with passion and tireless commitment. He deserves every recognition,” read the BFA statement.
“Pairing the Bermuda Hogges membership in the USL along with the coaching and administrative support of the BFA was a collaboration that brought mutual benefits.
“We are saddened that the Bermuda Hogges will not be participating and equally saddened for the players and coaching staff who had been preparing for the season.
“We trust that such preparation will contribute to successful matches against England National ‘C’ team and the NatWest Island Games.”
Hogges, who were due to be coached by national team boss Andrew Bascome this summer, were set up in 2006 by Scope and ex-Bermuda professionals Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne.
Lightbourne led Hogges during their three seasons in the now defunct semi-pro USL Division 2.
In 2010 the Hogges dropped down a tier to the amateur Under-23 PDL, handing the BFA full control of team affairs, with former National Academy coach Scott Morton coaching the side that summer.
Morton was succeeded by BAA Wanderers boss Maurice Lowe, who coached Hogges during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.