Lightbourne bows out on top
Kyle Lightbourne has stepped down as Robin Hood coach after leading the football club to a maiden Premier Division title last season — with John Barry Nusum confirmed as his replacement.
Lightbourne helped transform Hood into the pre-eminent force in Bermudian football during his five seasons in charge, winning the Friendship Trophy in 2015 — the club's first piece of major silverware — the FA Cup in 2016 and First Division title in 2013-14.
He said he made his decision midway through the season, believing he had gone “a little stale” and now plans to devote more time to his coaching development with a view to completing the Uefa A licence.
“It's been a good time and we've come a long way from when I first took over,” Lightbourne said.
“I was really happy with how things turned out as I was desperate for us to win another trophy in my last season coaching Hood. I felt like I'd gone a little stale and this now gives me an opportunity to take another coaching course and go on to my A licence.”
Lightbourne, who remains in charge of Bermuda Under-20, believes Nusum's appointment will be a smooth, seamless transition and expects him to be a perfect fit for the club.
Nusum previously played for the Hood in the Corona League and under Lightbourne for both Bermuda and the now defunct Bermuda Hogges in the United Soccer League Division Two.
“I wanted to wait until the dust had settled and the club had someone in place,” Lightbourne added. “I know JB well having coached him at the national level and the Hogges, and we did some good work together.
“I have no doubt the club will continue to improve under him and I know he can definitely handle it.”
Joel Duffy, the Hood president, said Lightbourne's contribution to the team's success could not be measured in trophies alone.
“Lighty has done a lot for us and has pretty much been the spirit of the club; it's been a remarkable few years,” Duffy said. “He's a great man manager and the players all love him and he always came for a drink with them after the game.
“Under Kyle we've pretty much won every trophy that we could have won other than the Dudley Eve.”
Duffy admits Lightbourne will be a tough act to follow but has no doubt Nusum will prove to be a successful appointment.
“[Nusum] fits the bill in a few ways,” he said. “He played Corona League for the Hood and gets along with everyone.
“He's a really nice guy and both him and Lighty are very similar in that way, very personable, and the kind of people you want at your club.”
Nusum, still only 36, already has plenty of coaching experience having won the First Division title with Wolves in 2011-12 and briefly served as a Bermuda assistant coach under Andrew Bascome.
“You couldn't ask for a better replacement than John Barry Nusum,” Duffy added.
“He's also played professionally, in the United States [for Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Kixx], and captained Bermuda.
“He's the sort of person that players look up to and I'm sure he will change a few things around.
“As long as the players take things on board I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be strong again next session.”