Striker Hallam Hope made history for his country last week when he became the first player ever to pull on a Barbados shirt for the first time and go on to score a brace.
His goals, scored eight minutes apart in the second half of the Nations League qualifier in Guyana, appeared to have given the away side the victory until the hosts earned themselves a point with just over ten minutes left to play.
Hope, who qualifies to play for Barbados courtesy of his father, spoke about his international experience ahead of training on Thursday morning.
“I’m buzzing about it all,” he said. “I got the call-up about a month ago and that was when the FA over there said they were going to contact the club to let them know. It was a great feeling and I was really excited about the fact I was going to play for my country. I enjoyed it a lot while I was out there with them.
“Getting the goals was a bonus, but we wanted to win the game more than anything. In the end the draw wasn’t a bad result.”
“I didn’t know what to expect as I was flying over there to meet up with the squad, but the lads welcomed me and took me in well, and everyone was really good with me.
“The initiation ceremony in the dressing room was a bit mad – I think a lot of people saw it when it was put on the internet – but it all just added to what was a good experience.
“There were some nerves building up to the game but it was pretty much the same as for a game over here. I’ve been playing professional football for a while now so I’ve got used to all of that.
“It was actually good to be able to help some of the other lads, because they were asking questions and looking for advice, so that was nice to be able to use my experience to do that.”
And it turned out that United’s latest international had had a pre-match premonition in his hotel room prior to heading to Leonora to play the game.
“My room mate asked me how many I thought I was going to score,” he explained. “I told him I’d get two and he said ‘what, so not three?’ I told him I just wanted the two and I did wonder if I’d just jinx myself if I started to say I was going to get three.
“The game was a good one to play in and, like I say, it was a good feeling to score. I wasn’t really thinking about the first goal too much because the main thought was that we’d got back into the game.
“From there we wanted to kick on and win it, but it just wasn’t to be in the end. I know it’s a good achievement to have got the goals and the family and everybody are massively proud of me.
“I’m looking forward to the game we have coming up and hopefully I’ll score even more goals for my country. I’m happy to have made myself part of the side and just proud to have represented my country.
“I really appreciate the messages I got from the fans on social media and I’d like to thank everybody for the support they showed me.”
The trip to Guyana meant he missed the Morecambe and Cambridge games here at home, but he did confirm that he’d had one eye on the internet to catch up on the results.
“Obviously I don’t want to miss too many game for Carlisle but hopefully, with travel and things like, we can work it out that I don’t miss many,” he told us. “The whole thing was made better this time when I saw that we’d won our games.
“I’m back now and I’m looking forward to Saturday where we’ll be going out there to try to get another three points.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Hallam Hope on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.
Thank you to the official CONCACAF website for allowing use of the image.