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Leverock committed to Harrisburg after play-off blow

Promising season: Bermuda defender Leverock

Danté Leverock has pledged his future to Harrisburg City Islanders after missing out on the United Soccer Leagues Eastern Conference play-offs in their final match of the season.

Leverock was ruled out because of suspension and had to watch from the stands as his team suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Pittsburgh Riverhounds last weekend.

Harrisburg only needed to draw to reach the play-offs and will miss the postseason for the first time since 2010.

“It was definitely one of the lowest points of my career,” said Leverock, who has been offered a new deal by the Pennsylvania club.

“We only needed a draw but we fell short and it was even tougher as I had to miss the game through suspension.”

The Bermuda defender believes there were still plenty of positives to take from the season, especially considering Harrisburg’s squad was one of the youngest in the 12-team conference.

“We had a lot of first-year professionals including myself and no one knew what to expect,” Leverock said. “We’re one of the lower-budget teams and I think we definitely did ourselves proud being in the play-off mix for the majority of the season.”

Leverock was a regular starter at centre half in his first season at Harrisburg and also displayed his aerial threat from set pieces with three goals.

The 23-year-old insists he is happy to continue his football education at Harrisburg and knows he has to refine his game if he is to realise his goal of playing for a Major League Soccer side.

“I’m very pleased with my first season as a professional,” said Leverock, who will train with David Bascome’s Baltimore Blast, a professional indoor team, during the off-season.

“I was signed as a squad player and wasn’t expected to play that many games but I took my chance and became one of the leaders on the team.

“I’ve had some great feedback throughout the season that I have what it takes to reach to MLS, which is my goal in the near future.”

Leverock added: “I feel very comfortable at Harrisburg and as of right now I’ll be back for pre-season. We’re looking to keep the nucleus of the team together and add some quality to push for success next season.”

Harrisburg are hoping to renovate their existing stadium on City Island as part of a $14 million project.

The team needs a larger football-specific stadium that complies with USL rules and have applied for a state grant of $5 million.

Without the new facility, Harrisburg will not be able to continue to play on City Island, with Nashville already approaching the franchise’s owners about moving the side.

n Dale Eve, the Stoke City goalkeeper, has joined Vanarama National League Conference table-toppers Forest Green on a one-month loan. The 20-year-old has reunited with former Stoke coach Ady Pennock, who is bidding for promotion to the Football League.

He joined on Monday hours after turning out for Stoke’s Under-21s in a 1-0 defeat at Brighton — and took a place on the bench in Tuesday’s 2-2 derby draw at home to Cheltenham Town.

Pennock said: “I got Dale Eve from Bermuda when I was the youth-team coach at Stoke — he was 15 or 16 and the same size he is now [6ft 4ins].