Soccer game could bring the MLS to The Bahamas
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Jul 19, 2014
The Bahamas men’s national team’s friendly game against the United States Olympic soccer team next month will serve as more than just a regular exhibition game for The Bahamas. In fact, it will be more of an advertising pitch for future endeavors of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA).
“The president of the United States Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati, and I are very good friends,” said President of the BFA Anton Sealy. “We served on a couple committees together in FIFA and developed a really good friendship. The idea initially was to get the World Cup team to come down before they went to Brazil for an exhibition game, but that couldn’t happen because the stadium was under construction for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Relays, so he said he will do the next best thing and send his Olympic team down to give our guys a game.
“The idea really for the game is to showcase the stadium to the U.S. Federation and to Major League Soccer (MLS) officials who have a lot of teams and were looking to host a combine here for Caribbean players looking to get into the MLS. We want to let them know that The Bahamas has a facility that is equipped and capable to host matches of this nature, and a facility that they can utilize freely that is first class outside of the continental USA.”
Though the game will showcase the stadium, Sealey also thinks it will be some good competition for the Bahamian men’s team, which has been out of action for quite some time now. Though the U.S. Olympic soccer team isn’t as good as the World Cup team, it still brings a high level of talent to the island.
“Because the game is in August, a lot of our players have to report back to their colleges for pre-season training, but everyone that can make it will be here. A number of them are here now training with the team, and one or two will be coming in just before the game. We haven’t been in competition since we had to withdraw from the last World Cup qualifier,” said Sealey.
“The drop off in terms of talent between the U.S. Olympic team and World Cup team is not a lot. The Olympic team is an under-23 team and the average age of the national team is 25 or 26 years of age. One or two of the players on that World Cup team are actually on this team, but because they competed in Brazil we are not sure that they will make an appearance in the game.”
Two of those players who could possibly be on the Olympic roster are Julian Green and Deandre Yedlin, who played major roles in the United States’ amazing run to the 16th round in this year’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament.
One major thing that Sealey will be paying attention to is the coaching of the Bahamian team. Former national team player Nesley Jean has recently been appointed as head coach of the team after being forced into retirement by several injuries.
The game is scheduled for August 6, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, and it is set to get started at 8 p.m.