From no boots to visions of Golden Boot
Hamilton Parish are off to a good start in the First Division, thanks in no small part to Jordan Outerbridge’s seven goals in their first two games.
While it is still early in the season, expectation is already high that Parish will be among the main contenders for promotion.
Outerbridge, 24, was not one of the 93 players who obtained a transfer during the summer, and many have never heard the name, but Sergio Goater, the new Hamilton Parish coach, has no doubt he could be one of the best signings of the season.
Outerbridge, who remembers playing one game for Parish as a youngster when back on holiday, returned to the island recently after living in England for several years. He has quickly fitted in, helping Parish to 8-1 and 5-1 wins over Vasco and Young Men’s Social Club respectively.
“I’m really enjoying it, the coaches and the team have taken me in with open arms, which has helped me settle in to life on the island quickly,” Outerbridge said.
“From what I know, there’s a lot of new faces in this team, but we’ve gelled quickly and the energy around the club at the moment is great. As a team, I think that our realistic target is to win the First Division and go on a cup run.
“My personal targets for the season are to win the Golden Boot, keep people speaking about Hamilton Parish and, most importantly, win the league to get Hamilton Parish to where they belong.”
Outerbridge played in both England and Sweden as he got a taste of the game at a professional level. “I played for York City up until the age of 18, played in Sweden after that briefly and played semi-pro for a couple of teams in Yorkshire, but stopped playing at that level for a few years,” he revealed. “I came back here initially for ten days for my grandma’s funeral and decided to stay.”
That is good news for Goater, who is aiming to keep his players grounded.
“I’m just taking it game by game, not getting ahead of myself,” said Goater, who left St David’s to take up a new challenge at Parish.
He knows it is too early to be talking about promotion.
“I’ll leave that to the media and the fans, but I always tell the players I’ve never seen anyone get promoted off six points!
“Obviously now, we’re the favourites and we have a target on our back, but I have to do my job as the coach. The players are buying into the plan; so far, so good.”
He added: “We still have a duty to at least play good football; that’s what the fans come out to see. I just try to keep them humble.
“Someone said the other day that they were so used to seeing Parish argue, and even being on the outside it was something that I noticed. In the past two games, it hasn’t been like that, but I explained to them that adversity could be just around the corner.”
Parish picked up some key players in the transfer window, with veterans Shayne Hollis and Patrick Richardson returning to the club from Southampton Rangers and X-Roads respectively. They also signed Quinn Outerbridge from North Village, Kyle Wade and Kenfari Swan from Dandy Town, Sean Burgess from X-Roads and Jakio Williams from Boulevard.
“I have a good relationship with a lot of the players, and have coached some of them in youth football,” Goater said. “I played with Shayne when he was coming through at North Village; he’s a few years younger than me.
“I hand-picked guys who I knew would have my back and were good footballers. I’ve lived in Hamilton Parish 30-odd years, so I’m no stranger to them.”
Most of the signings have seen action already, with Outerbridge making a big contribution on the left side of the attack, scoring and setting up goals. “Jordan’s fitness is superb and I try to get the players to at least be as fit as him,” Goater said.
“When he first came training, I didn’t even know who he was; he didn’t even have boots. He came to training, liked it and decided to stay. Thank God he did.
“He’s left-footed and can play anywhere across the front. Not only does he score goals, he sets them up. He has an excellent attitude; very humble.”
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