Jones and Tyrell join Ilkeston project
David Jones and Tevahn Tyrell have become the latest Bermudian imports at Ilkeston after signing for the English non-League side's full-time academy.
Jones and Tyrell, who have both represented Bermuda Under-18s, join Jahquill Hill, the first-team's second-choice goalkeeper, and academy midfielder J'nai Butterfield-Steede at the Derbyshire side.
Tyrell, a powerful forward, was a regular for Robin Hood in the Premier Division last season, while Jones, a left-sided defender, has been in England for several years, playing for Mansfield Town's academy.
All four players will live together in a nearby apartment partially funded by Paul Scope, who owned the now defunct Bermuda Hogges. Scope forged a link between the Island and Ilkeston more than two years ago. He said he is confident that both players have the ability and right attitude to be successful at the club.
“We were looking for good players with the right character and both these players seemed a good fit,” Scope said. “Tevahn was recommended by both Kyle Lightbourne [the Hood coach] and Richard Todd [the North Village coach].
“David was already living in Nottingham and he approached us about moving to Ilkeston. Richard Todd also spoke highly of him and both players are doing well.”
Both teenagers will hope to follow in the footsteps of Rai Simons, the poster boy for the Ilkeston/Bermuda link-up, who signed for Sky Bet League One side Chesterfield after his impressive performances in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
“Seven of Ilkeston's players last season ended up at professional clubs, so obviously there's a supply chain going on and Rai is an example of that,” Scope said.
“We're probably better off sending guys who are younger than we originally did, even if they're not ready for the first team straight away.
“Rai spent a lot of time playing for the academy but it got him a lot of games in front of scouts from professional clubs. It's a good location as they're near lots of professional teams.”
Lightbourne, the former Walsall and Stoke City striker, believes Tyrell has the physical presence and style of attacking play well-suited to the English game.
“Tevahn is someone who I think has the mental strength to try his luck in England,” Lightbourne said.
“There's a long way for him to go but he's been given an opportunity and hopefully he can take it.
“He is capable of playing in a lot of different positions but I think he is best suited to playing off the striker.”
Hood trio Antwan Russell, Lejuan Simmons and Roger Lee, as well Danté Leverock, presently at Harrisburg City Islanders in the United Soccer Leagues, are among the Bermudian players to have spent time at Ilkeston in the past 2½ years.
Plenty has changed at Ilkeston since last season, with Gavin Strachan, the son of Scotland manager Gordon, succeeding Kevin Wilson as the team's manager, while Nigel Harrop, a former Bermuda resident, has taken over as owner.