Football community coming to grips with Freddy Hall’s death
The sudden passing of top goalkeeper Freddy Hall is still sinking in among football players and fans, the news spreading fast on Sunday morning just hours after a single-vehicle crash in St George’s claimed the life of the 37-year-old St George’s Colts captain.
Hall, who had a stint as a professional player with clubs in England, Ireland and in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC, just completed a full season with St George’s. He was still rated, by some, as the best goalkeeper on the island.
Doors began to open for Hall when he was coached at Quinnipiac University by Shaka Hislop, the former Trinidad & Tobago, Newcastle United and West Ham United goalkeeper, who arranged a two-week trial with Charlton Athletic for Hall in 2010.
Hall moved to Britain in 2011 to pursue a professional career, signing for Northampton Town after trials with Plymouth Argyle.
In 2012 Hall left Northampton after playing just three games for them in less than a year and signed for Toronto FC on a four-year deal but was released by them in December 2012 along with several other players just before coach Paul Mariner was fired.
In March 2014, Hall signed for Burton Albion in League Two in England on a short deal, playing as a substitute for them at Wembley in the play-off final 1-0 loss to Fleetwood Town. He was one of several players released the following month.
Two months later Hall was offered a one-year deal with Chester City, a non-league side, but departed the cash-strapped club in August 2014 after failing to agree terms.
The goalkeeper, now 29, joined another non-league club, Telford, in October of that year and in June 2015 captained Bermuda for the first time in a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala in the absence of Nahki Wells. Under coach Andrew Bascome, Bermuda played to a 0-0 draw.
Hall moved to Ireland to join Limerick FC in 2015 and spent three years at the club before returning to Bermuda in February 2018 following the birth of his daughter.
Hall also played for the Bermuda Hogges which was launched by Paul Scope, Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne in 2007 and played in the United Soccer League Division 2.
His skills were being sought by the national programme as a goalkeeper coach, national coach Lightbourne revealed yesterday. Lightbourne also helped get Hall trials at Charlton Athletic, Bristol City and Walsall.
“I set up a few trials for him in the early days,” explained Lightbourne, a former professional himself. “At that time Charlton were in the Premier League and looking for a number three goalkeeper. Freddy was young but for whatever reason that didn’t work out for him.
“All the teams he went to they liked him as a goalkeeper. Freddy was an outstanding goalkeeper, a very nice guy who we got along with.
“We wanted him to be in the [national] programme as a goalkeeper coach. We needed one on island for the senior team and we were in talks with him.
“He had agreed to do work with us, then this happened. Bermuda has lost a gem, he worked with a lot of the younger goalkeepers. I’m getting out of my car now to go to national squad training and he probably would have been here with us.”
Lightbourne got a call on Sunday morning with the bad news, something that is still sinking in.
“It brings a numb feeling to you, it’s hard to take,” he admitted.
“He’s going to be a big, big miss. I feel for his family, I feel for the St George’s community because of what they’ve been through. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through.
“Freddy was definitely one of the best goalkeepers. I think St George’s definitely got a couple of points that they probably didn’t deserve because of him.
“One of the top teams would have loved to have him in their goal. Some of the forwards were a little afraid to take him on, really. He always had that smirk on his face.”
Just four months ago, St George’s suffered the loss of another footballer, Osagi Bascome, who was stabbed to death in St David’s. He was a member of Lightbourne’s national team and also had a brief stint as a professional.
• UPDATE: this article has been amended to correct the cause of death for Osagi Bascome. We apologise for any inconvenience