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Eve targeting return to professional ranks

Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, believes he is better equipped for a return to the professional ranks after a much needed period of soul-searching.

Eve has been in scintillating form for Bermuda at the Concacaf Gold Cup, producing the type of displays that reminded why he was once considered a top prospect by former Premier League side Stoke City.

The 24-year-old reeled off several superb saves in the narrow defeats to Haiti and Costa Rica and said he is hoping his performances have caught the attention of potential suitors.

“I’m very pleased with myself,” said Eve, who was recently on trial at Major League Soccer side Toronto FC.

“I’ve surprised myself. I’ve just tried to stick in with my back four and do as well as I can. Everybody is behind one another. It’s been a real team effort.”

Eve’s career has digressed since leaving Stoke on a free transfer in 2016. He had a brief spell at Forest Green Rovers in the Vanarama National League, and then joined Shaun Goater at non-League side Ilkeston before returning to Bermuda, spending two seasons at Robin Hood.

Once described as a hugely talented “hothead” by Goater, Eve said he has matured over the past few years and, although the sand in his hourglass is ebbing away, feels he still has time to realise his vast potential.

“That’s my number one goal at the moment, to get back into the professional game,” said the 6ft 4in goalkeeper.

“I did a lot of self-reflection and it took a few years, some hard years, but I’ve come out better for it.

“I’m hoping to get back to professional football and I’ve got my fingers crossed. I’ve got my family behind me and we’re just hoping for the best possible outcome.”

Another player whose displays at the Gold Cup have suggested he can play at a higher level is Milan Butterfield.

The 21-year-old came on as a second-half substitute against Haiti before starting against Costa Rica, once again impressing the holding role in Bermuda’s midfield.

“I’m proud of the team,” said Butterfield, who plays for Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North. “We’ve done extremely well. Costa Rica were a very good team and we did what we had to do to stay in the game.

“I was very pleased with my performance and we just need to keep moving forward.

“We’re very confident and now we need to get that win. We’re more than capable of beating Nicaragua [today].

Stephen Wright travelled to New Jersey, New York, courtesy of Jet Blue, which provided flights between Frisco, Texas, and Boston. Flights available from www.jetblue.com