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Eve backed to return to professional ranks

Fall backing: John Moreira, the Bermuda goalkeeping coach, believes it is only a question of time before the island’s No 1 Dale Eve returns to the professional level

John Moreira, the Bermuda goalkeeping coach, believes it is only a question of time before the island’s No 1 Dale Eve returns to the professional level.

Eve produced an eye-catching display during Bermuda’s 2-1 defeat to Haiti in their group B opener at the Estadio Nacional in San José, Costa Rica, on Sunday, producing several superb second-half saves.

The former Stoke City prospect also impressed during a five-day trial at Toronto FC after being recommended to the Major League Soccer side by Ontario-based Moreira.

“Dale has all the right attributes and great athleticism,” said Moreira, who has travelled with the Bermuda team to the Concacaf Gold Cup.

“I thought it would a good experience to get him out [to Toronto] and train at that level. We had five days so he could get a taste of what professional football is like in the MLS. I do still think he has what it takes to play at that level.”

Toronto FC has forged a strong relationship with the island over the years, with Reggie Lambe, the Bermuda midfielder, and Freddy Hall, the former Bermuda goalkeeper, enjoying stints at BMO Field.

“Toronto FC have always given Bermuda players a chance and we got a lot of good feedback from them [on Eve]” said Moreira, who was born in St George’s, before leaving the island at the age of 8.

“The retention of goalkeepers at that level is very high. There’s probably one spot available every two or three years. It’s pretty difficult to get a place [in the squad].”

Eve has not played professionally or semi-professionally since leaving English non-League side Ilkeston at the end of the 2017 season.

The 24-year-old also had loan spells at Fleetwood Town, Nuneaton Town, Newcastle Town and Congleton before being released by Stoke City.

The Robin Hood player then signed for Forest Green Rovers in the Vanarama National League, where he previously had a loan stint.

“I’ve seen his attitude improve over the past three years and his work ethic is impeccable,” added Moreira, who runs Eurostar Goalkeeper Academy in the Greater Toronto Area.

“I think he’s come to value the game a bit more. He’s a level above [the goalkeepers] that I’m used to working with [in Ontario].”

Moreira, who is also the goalkeeping director at Oakville Blue Stars Soccer Club, was invited to deliver coaching clinics on the island after a chance meeting with Scott Morton, a Bermuda assistant coach, and Richard Todd, the Bermuda Football Coaches Association president, at an NCAA coaching convention in Philadelphia several years ago.

“It’s great to be part of a piece of history [at the Gold Cup] and to see all of the BFA’s [Bermuda Football Association] hard work paying off,” he added.“We’ve got some great players playing overseas now and that’s made a huge contribution to our programme. That’s definitely increased over the past four years.”

Stephen Wright travelled to Frisco, Texas, courtesy of Jet Blue, which provided flights between San José, Costa Rica, Orlando and Austin. Flights available from www.jetblue.com