Leverock signs for Harrisburg
Danté Leverock, the Bermuda defender, has signed for United Soccer Leagues side Harrisburg City Islanders after impressing in pre-season.
Leverock, who helped Bermuda keep two clean sheets against Bahamas in the first round of World Cup qualifying, was recommended to the Pennsylvania team by former Bermuda winger David Bascome, who played for Islanders in 2004.
The 22-year-old said he was elated to realise his ambition of turning professional and determined to become a key cog in Islanders' defensive machinery.
“I just want to establish myself at Islanders and earn a regular starting spot,” said Leverock, who scored Bermuda's opening goal with a header in the first leg in Nassau last Wednesday.
“I still have a lot to learn and I want to become a good centre back, a commanding centre back, and put myself in the spotlight.
“There are a lot of MLS second teams in that league, like Toronto and New York Red Bulls, so it's a good level to play at. I have big dreams and hopefully one day I can play in the MLS or Europe.”
Leverock started out as a burly striker in the target-man mould before being converted into a centre half two years ago while playing for Leatherhead in the Ryman Isthmian League in London.
Boasting a muscular 6ft 4in frame, Leverock admits he is not the typical fleet-footed Bermudian player, but is well-suited to playing in defence because of his height, physicality and ability to read the game.
He believes the years spent leading the line as a youngster helped his smooth transition into an uncompromising centre half.
“I was playing for Leatherhead in London and the coach asked me if I wanted to try out at centre back,” he said.
“Obviously I'm tall enough, so I said ‘why not' and I've been playing there ever since.
“I love it back there and I see the whole field. I like to tackle, I like to be aggressive, and my priorities these days are clean sheets and not scoring goals.
“I think it's helped me playing up front because I know how a striker likes to move and how he wants the ball.
“I'm not a typical Bermudian player — short, fast and good with the ball — but I can play. I like to play the ball out of defence and not just hoof it over the top.”
The former Dandy Town player has been training with Bascome's Baltimore Blast, a professional indoor team, since October after graduating from St Mary's University in England, where he studied sports coaching and science.
“David [Bascome] has always supported me and told me that once I got my degree he would help if I still wanted to play football,” said Leverock, who also had a stint at Evo-Stik Northern Premier side Ilkeston in Derbyshire.
Islanders, who lost their opening game of the season 5-2 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the weekend, play Charleston Battery away on Saturday.