FOOTBALL

The Gloucester City Internationals

Over the years, Gloucester City have had many internationals pass through their ranks.

Dating back to the late 1800’s when Frank Saunders was capped for England, up to the current day, the Tigers have had no shortage of international players represent them, ranging from Pakistan to England, and Gibraltar to Sierra Leone

Park Life Sport spoke to two former Gloucester players on their time at the club and their international experiences.

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Jonte Smith is a striker, currently playing for Lewes in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Smith had a spell with Gloucester City in 2015, scoring four goals for the club. He represents Bermuda on the international stage.

What did you make of your time at Gloucester City and what are your memories from your time at the club?

I enjoyed my time at Gloucester City. We weren’t in the best of positions in the league table at the time, but there was a real togetherness about that team and it helped us push away from the relegation area. I’m still good friends with a few of the players I met while I was there.

What was it like to receive your first international call up?

My first international call up was when I was 18 years old and it was a friendly against England C. I actually knew a few of the players playing for them so it was a really good experience to share with a few friends from England and back home.

What do you remember about your first international goal?

My first international goal came against Puerto Rico and it was a very important one. We were losing 2-0, but I scored pretty late to make it 2-1. We ended up losing the game, but progressing through our Caribbean Cup group via goal difference and that goal was pretty key.

What are your international highlights so far?

Scoring my first goal and playing against Bahamas in a World Cup qualifier in Bermuda – we had a sold out stadium of roughly 10,000 people. Another highlight was playing against Guatemala in the World Cup qualifiers in Guatemala.

They had a 30,000 seat stadium and there were around 20,000 people in there. They were ranked a lot higher than us in the FIFA world rankings, but we came away with a hard fought 0-0 draw.

Who are the best players you’ve played with and against on the international stage?

The best players I’ve played with on the international stage are Nahki Wells (Burnley), Reggie Lambe (Carlisle), Dale Eve (ex Stoke City goalkeeper) and Rai Simons (former Chesterfield striker).

What are your ambitions with the national team? Is there a certain amount of goals/caps you want to reach or tournaments you want to qualify for?

My goals and ambitions for the national team is to gain as many caps as possible. It’s always an honour representing my country.

We have a lot of talent in our group of players at the moment and we’re looking to progress further in tournaments than any other Bermuda team has progressed before.

You play in stadiums with your country that are bigger than the ones you play in with club. What is it like to play in front of the big crowds?

I’ve been fortunate enough to play in front of several big crowds. I think the size of the crowd has an effect on the game, especially when they’re very active, but I feel I’ve got used to playing in the big occasion matches, so the size of the crowd doesn’t effect the way that I play.

How is the current club season going on a personal level and also for your club?

We’re currently in first place pushing for promotion, we just need to keep our focus and keep our consistency throughout the rest of the season.

Personally, it’s been a good season so far. I’ve played a good part in the games and I feel I’ve had a positive influence when I have been playing, but what I’m most proud of this season is our clubs push for equality in football and I’m grateful to be a part of that with their Equality FC campaign.

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Nathaniel Jarvis, who currently plays for National League South side Bath City, had a spell at Gloucester City in 2014, and spent the 2014-15 season with Cirencester Town. He started his career with Cardiff City, before spells at clubs including Southend United, Newport County and Forest Green Rovers. He has scored two goals for Antigua and Barbuda in eight appearances.

What did you make of your time at Gloucester City and what are your memories from your time at the club?

My time at Gloucester was memorable. I scored a few and played when I wasn’t injured. However, leaving Gloucester for Cirencester was one of the best career moves I made, as I played regularly for Cirencester and was prolific in the Southern Premier League, where I scored 25 league goals.

What was it like to receive your first international call up?

It was a very proud moment in my career to represent Antigua and Barbuda Internationally. I was just happy to be apart of the national squad and it was an amazing experience.

What do you remember about your first international goal?

I came off the bench vs Dominican Republic at 1-1. With around 25 minutes to go, I flicked a ball up the line, my strike partner Peter Byers ran onto it to the by-line and cut it back to me close to the penalty spot, where I finished it instinctively. The crowd went crazy as did my team mates. My parents were there watching too. It was one of the greatest moments in my career.

What are your international highlights so far?

In the same competition, I came off the bench and scored a winner vs St Vincent and Grenadines with a great run and finish.

The two goals allowed us to qualify for the next round in Trinidad and Tobago, in which we qualified again for the final round of the Caribbean Cup in Jamaica.

Who are the best players you’ve played with and against on the international stage?

Played with – Our captain Josh Parker, who plays for Gillingham Town. He is a versatile player who can play many positions and he’s a good leader.

Played against – Jobi McAnuff of Jamaica, Kenwyne Jones of Trinidad or Julian Faubert of Martinique. They are all great players and performed well against us and showed their quality in difficult conditions.

What are your ambitions with the national team? Is there a certain amount of goals/caps you want to reach or tournaments you want to qualify for?

I’m currently on two goals in eight games for Antigua. I would love to qualify for the Gold Cup with them, which would be a major achievement. Another goal is to possibly score over 10 goals.

You play in stadiums with your country that are bigger than the ones you play in with club. What is it like to play in front of the big crowds?

Against Jamaica and Trinidad, the crowds were bigger than those I’m used to playing in front of and they are much more vocal, which is always a good thing.

Every game is like a party with an uplifting atmosphere. This helps you to perform at your best, especially at our home ground in Antigua.

How is the current club season going on a personal level and also for your club?

It has been a difficult season for us and for me on the goals front. We’ve changed manager a few times over the course of the season both with contrasting playing styles and I’ve had to adapt my playing style to suit.

I currently play as a lone striker. I can be isolated for long periods of the game, and it can be a thankless task in regards to the amount of work I have to get through in 90 minutes.

However, I am more than equipped to play that role and have proven that many times this season. We are very close to the play-offs after so many changes. which shows how good we are to have come through what we have this season.

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