Devaun 'Sammy' DeGraff hopes to add some Brazilian style flair to Bermuda's Digicel Cup bid when he makes his national team debut tonight.

The 25-year-old, the surprise package in Kyle Lightbourne's squad, will be given a starting role against the US Virgin Islands in St Thomas.

DeGraff, who has been playing club football for Dallas Lightning in the States, only returned to the island in July to become a music teacher at Whitney Institute after several years at college in Texas.

But he has made an instant impression with national team coaches hailing his technique, versatility and football brain.

The attacking midfielder came through the ranks at North Village and will link up again with Streaker Adams' squad as they defend their Triple Crown this season.

He had trials with Brazilian outfit FC Paulista last summer and has attended training camps in South America and the US in a bid to improve his skills.

"I love the Brazilian style of play," said DeGraff, who supports Real Madrid and cites Robinho and French star Zinedine Zidane as his favourite players.

"It took me a while to get used to the physicality of it, but I don't think there were too many players that were that much better than I was," he said of his month long try-out in Brazil.

"I learnt a lot from it especially tactically; improving my movement off the ball, using the outside of my foot a bit more and improving basic skills like shooting and dribbling."

DeGraff has played football since he was a kid and has represented Bermuda at junior level. His father Curtis kept national team coaches up to date with his progress while he was overseas and he joined up with the current squad in July, after attending a soccer training camp along with some of the best amateurs in the United States.

"I'm excited, definitely. I don't know if it has really hit me yet but I'm looking forward to getting my first cap.

"Hopefully I can contribute in some way to the team winning."

DeGraff, a talented saxaphone player, said he had given up football briefly when he went away to music school in Alabama in his late teens.

But he had later transferred to Texas - one of the US' biggest soccer States.

"I was kicking around with some guys and they asked me to play for their team. I started playing with them and I did pretty well and got the opportunity to play for Dallas Lightning.

"It's pretty competitive out there. I would say it's close to our Premier Division standard."

DeGraff, who last played in Bermuda for North Village in the 2005 Dudley Eve Christmas tournament, didn't have a typical football education.

As a Seventh Day Adventist he has never been able to train or play on Saturdays.

He said he had a spell where he questioned his faith and did play football on the Sabbath. But now, as an older man, he says he understands his religion better and is committed to the principles of his church.

And he'll stick by those principles - even if it means missing out on playing for Bermuda in their second Digicel match against Dominican Republic at 7pm on Friday night.

"If it falls on the Sabbath then I'll talk with the coach and I'll probably not play. He knows my issues with my faith and understands that."

National team assistant coach Paul Scope said he had been extremely impressed with DeGraff and had no qualms about throwing him in at the deep end.