Going up? Hogges’ players like Damon Ming could go on loan to FC Toronto once the two clubs ink a deal. *Bermuda Sun File Photo
Going up? Hogges’ players like Damon Ming could go on loan to FC Toronto once the two clubs ink a deal. *Bermuda Sun File Photo
A partnership between Bermuda Hogges and Toronto FC could be cemented in the not-too-distant future.

This according to Toronto FC director of player development, Paul Mariner, who told the Bermuda Sun that ongoing negotiations involving both parties appear to be very promising.

“We are well down the line towards putting something together. We are in the advance stage of negotiations and we are very excited about it,” the former England international revealed.

If all goes according to plan, Mariner said a player exchange between the Hogges and Toronto could be established.

He added: “If we have this affiliation maybe we can send some of our players down to get some extra games and in turn maybe we can have some players coming up from Bermuda.

“If there are players that are showing tremendous ability we can bring them up to Toronto to give them extra training. We could even work an affiliation where they can get their education also.”

Fantastic

Earlier this year Toronto FC began an affiliation with Barbados Premier Division side Bagatelle FC.

The partnership will see the Major League Soccer side offer coaching and player development programmes to help further enhance the sport in the Caribbean island.

Toronto FC scouts will also keep a close eye out for potential talent coming up through the ranks at Bagatelle.

Like other countries in the region, the former New England Revolution assistant coach believes Bermuda has a wealth of talent that needs to be “channeled” in the right direction.

He is also adamant that an affiliation between the Hogges and Toronto FC could provide new incentives for local footballers harboring ambitions of playing professionally.

“I think the boys on the island need somewhere they can aim at and it’s fantastic if you can go over and play in Europe.

“But as a stepping stone Major League Soccer might be an option,” Mariner added.

“If the youngsters on the island know there’s an outlet I think they will put their heart and soul into it.

“Something like this will help keep the kids off the streets and I think it will be good for everybody.”

Opener

Toronto FC has already agreed to send members of their coaching staff to the island this summer to run the rule over Bermuda Hogges players.

Hogges co-owner Paul Scope, who is spearheading negotiations with Toronto FC, also hopes that at some point some of his players will get the opportunity to have trials with the MLS club.