Somersall brings international experience to FC Tucson’s men’s squad
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Somersall brings international experience to FC Tucson’s men’s squad

Wednesday marks 3rd face-off with Toronto’s Junior Reds

21-year-old FC Tucson midfielder Raheem Somersall has been capped for his country seven times. His appearances were for tiny St. Kitts and Nevis. Although the Sugar Boyz (as the team is known) rank a relatively high fifth among Caribbean teams, they are minnows in the world soccer scene.

"It's about keeping the country happy," he said of playing for one of the worlds smaller nations. "Obviously, every country in the world would like to play in the World Cup, but it's a challenge to get there. For us, the first step is making it to the Gold Cup...hopefully we can qualify for the Olympics...we are making progress."

Even without playing on the big stage, Somersall points to it as experience that a lot of players his age don't have.

"I came in as a player from college young. I've been able to play for the national team at the youth level and at the senior level, so I have some experience under my belt," he said. "It has helped me to be a be a better professional, traveling the world and playing with professionals older than me...transitioning from colleges to pros has not been a challenge because I've been exposed to that level."

In his previous coaching role at Sounders U23, FC Tucson coach Darren Sawatzky had played several players from Florida Gulf Coast University. It was FGCU's coach, Jesse Cormier, who told Sawatzky about Somersall.

"I think he got lost and was a little under the radar," said Sawatzky. "We got lucky. He's got loads of potential and could easily play at the highest level. He's just got to keep getting better."


FC Tucson is promising fireworks after their match on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., Kino North Stadium). But, what of the fireworks on the field?

Wednesday's match will be the team's third tussle with Toronto FC II. The previous contests included Tucson's home opener on April 13 (a 1-1 draw) and a 0-1 loss in Toronto on May 23.

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You'd think that familiarity would breed contempt, or at least more familiarity. Fans will see a different set of faces than they saw in April, however.

"We know how Toronto will play, but they've moved a bunch of guys up," said Sawatzky. "The question is who we will see...It's time for us to take some points from them."

Among the players who FC Tucson won't see is Jordan Hamilton, whose late goal spoiled FC Tucson's home opener. He's since moved on to Toronto's senior squad.

According to Sawatzky, Wednesday's line-up will include several players returning from time with Phoenix Rising, including Andrew Wheeler-Omionu and defender Austin Ledbetter.

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