SAN JOSE, Costa Rica.- Bermuda is ready to make history in their first-ever Concacaf Gold Cup appearance this Sunday, June 16 against Haiti, as Group B kicks off with a doubleheader in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional.
With some top-end Concacaf talent such as Nahki Wells, Reggie Lambe and Zeiko Lewis, it is a trio to watch. They combined for a total of nine goals in four games during Concacaf Nations League Qualifying as Bermuda knocked off El Salvador 1-0 and made a comeback that resulted in a 3-1 win over the Dominican Republic.
With so much history in the making, Bermuda, who is one of two teams making its historic debut in the Gold Cup, knows the moment the whistle blows is one to remember.
“We’re all warriors, we are a small nation and we’re punching above our weight,” said defender Dante Leverock in a mixed zone session this week. “Even now, first time in history, making a Gold Cup is monumental for us. It’s also monumental for the country and the next generation. It’s important that we do well, represent ourselves well, the boys are buzzing and excited to go.”
Bermuda, a British territory with a population of around 60,846 knows how close-knit the team is as they grew up together.
“I couldn’t really describe it. The fact that us… 65,000 people. This group, we’ve been together for a very, very long time. We all grew up together, we know each other, and to do that together and to create a history, it doesn’t seem real yet, I think once the first whistle goes when we’re there, I’ll embrace that moment,” added Leverock.
With just days before Bermuda takes to the big stage, it is the small moments that are the daily reminders of the teamwork that brought them to the Gold Cup. Forward,Liam Evans, who scored his first full men’s team international goal for Bermuda in the lead up to qualifying for the 2019 Gold Cup, said scoring that goal in front of the home crowd “was a crazy feeling.”
“It was just pure love, really,” recalls Lejaun Simmons, as he mentions the reactions he has had from people after qualifying. “It’s something that we’re not used to as a national football team, because we haven’t been this successful in a while. We have been successful in the past, but now it’s a new generation and we are here to make history.”