Jordan Outerbridge excited about national team opportunity
Jordan Outerbridge got a timely birthday present with news that he has been included in the Bermuda squad that will travel to Florida on Tuesday for a training camp that will involve two friendlies against Bahamas.
Outerbridge, who turned 25 yesterday, is one of the new faces getting an opportunity to impress Bermuda coach Kyle Lightbourne ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. He is the only First Division player in the squad.
The Hamilton Parish forward, who leads the First Division scoring with 11 goals this season, is grateful for the call-up, although he recognises that the task of securing a spot in the matchday squad against Canada on March 25 will be a tough one for the new players.
“I’m delighted to be included in the team that travels to Florida next week,” Outerbridge said yesterday. “I know that just because I’m included in the team that’s travelling to the IMG Academy doesn’t mean I’m in the team to travel for the World Cup qualifier.
“However, I’m looking forward to having the chance to showcase myself to the coaches by getting some game time on this trip, as I’m sure the rest of the local guys that haven’t been involved before are also.”
He added: “Covid has changed the dynamics of this competition and the coaches and team have adapted to ensure that the games go on and we maximise the opportunity, albeit not as was originally planned.
“I sympathise with those who are missing out due to being away or injured, but I’m ready to grab this chance to step up and earn my stripes. I’ve enjoyed being part of the squad so far; I’m learning in each session from the players and coaches how to better my overall game and what’s required to become a national team player.
“Opportunities like this don’t come around often and if selected I will ensure that I give it my all and we, as a team, make Bermuda’s road to the World Cup a long and successful one.”
Outerbridge, who had professional stints at clubs in England and Sweden, is a pacy, left-sided player, which gives Lightbourne another attacking option. His goals for Parish brought him to Lightbourne’s attention in the opening weeks of the season, after he returned to the island for his grandmother’s funeral last summer and decided to stay.
“I was surprised but delighted to be invited to train with the squad and take part in the inter-squad game which was played in November,” he said.
“My goalscoring form is what initially got me noticed but I’m hoping that since seeing me on a more frequent basis, coach Lightbourne has seen other attributes in my game. Since training with the team, I’ve highlighted weaknesses in my game which I’m now working on to ensure that once the season starts again I’ll be in even better form than I was before.”
Parish are one of the favourites for promotion, level on points with Young Men’s Social Club and with a six-point lead on Boulevard and St David’s when the season stopped because of the pandemic.
“I was as disappointed as everyone else, but understood that in order to move forward changes needed to be made so that we can pick up where we left off and finish the season as originally planned,” Outerbridge said.
Several new or fringe players have been included by Lightbourne for the Florida trip, including Dandy Town team-mates Azende Furbert, Jomei Bean-Lindo, Eusebio Blankendal and Jahkari Furbert, who join veteran Cecoy Robinson, another Town player in the 23-man Bermuda squad.
Midfielder Remy Coddington, who is at the West Ham academy, is the youngest player in the squad at 16. Richard Jones, of Devonshire Colts, is another young player given an opportunity at the senior level.
“Cecoy coaches the under-17s at the national level and it’s always good to have him around,” Lightbourne said. “We’ve got a few young guys in there, so we’ll see what they can do.
“Liam Evans needs to stake a claim, his training has been very good and he is probably one of our fittest players so we’re looking for him to step up.
“Covid is a big issue, some of the players in the UK can’t travel to the United States or need 14 days before they can travel for the friendly, guys like Reggie Lambe, Dale Eve and Roger Lee.
“Hopefully we’ll have them when we get back, when we will have two weeks to prepare for the big game with Canada.”
Bermuda squad (for Florida training camp from March 2 to 8): Jaylon Bather, Keishon Bean, Jomei Bean-Lindo, Eusebio Blankendal, Willie Clemons, Remy Coddington, Liam Evans, Azende Furbert, Jahkari Furbert, Jahquil Hill, Quinaceo Hunt, Richard Jones Jr, Dante Leverock, Zeiko Lewis, Calon Minors, Jordan Outerbridge, Cecoy Robinson, Enrique Russell, Jibri Lawrence-Salaam, Knory Scott, Lejuan Simmons, London Steede-Jackson, Trey Tucker. Head coach: Kyle Lightbourne. Technical director: Maurice Lowe. Manager: Ardyne Smith. Video analyst: Stanley McDowall. Physio: Craig Brown.