It’s been a strange season so far for Donald Soloman. Starting the season as captain of Tytherington Rocks in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West, you’d not be far from the mark in saying it wasn’t really the start he would have hoped for, after losing all of their opening six fixtures conceding 41 goals in the process.
However, after going down 8-1 to Hellenic Premier Division side Longlevens in the Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round, manager Mark Moore saw enough of the Cayman Islands international to offer him a trial in order to break into the Longlevens side.
Moore commented on what he had liked about Soloman: “He had a lot of heart and work ethic when we faced him, even the likes a Brad Martin got no change from him and when we heard he was available i thought, what have we got to lose?”
After a previous spell with Henbury, Soloman was keen to make the step up into the Hellenic Premier Division: “My then manager (Ian Logan-Giles) resigned and said he will help me to find a club. After the game, one of the Longlevens coaches was having a chat, saying what he likes about me during the game. I got in touch with Longlevens and I was on board. I was happy going to a league higher with a great club that I’ve heard a lot about.”
After one training session, Soloman was handed his debut against Tuffley Rovers in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup on Saturday.
“It was an ideal chance to look at him and there was no better place to start than a derby game at home,” added Moore. “We will continue to look at him and see how he goes. We are not a club to turn anyone down who wants to step up and have a go, as long as he keeps working hard and applies himself then he has every chance.”
Soloman has international experience so is no stranger to trying to impress: “I got my experience from playing against players way above my age which was good cause I was never afraid to prove what I can do. That then landed me into wearing the captains band for my country in the under-20 World Cup qualifiers. I then played in the mens World Cup qualifying matches in 2008 and 2011 and also the Carribbean championship. I went on a few trials with some professional clubs which was a great experience also but most important I was a hardworking and committed person to my football.
“My aim for the season is try to be in the team as much as possible, be consistent in every game and do well in the cup competitions.”
Meanwhile, Jack Sklenar has also signed for Longlevens after decided in the week to make the switch from Evo-Stik League South West side Bishops Cleeve.
Sklenar has a lot of pedigree both locally and in the Hellenic League, most notably leading the scoring for Cheltenham Civil Service as they romped to the Gloucestershire County League title three years ago and then leading Cheltenham Saracens to the Hellenic Division One West title the following season.
Sklenar had signed Hellenic League forms for Longlevens last season under James French. However, he opted to play for Slimbridge in the Southern League.
“We’ve known all about Jack for a while now. He has scored loads of goals in the surrounding leagues and when we heard he was available we jumped at the chance to get him on board,” said Moore. “The first we saw of him was in his Civil Service days as he scored a few against us in a pre-season friendly.
“We want to have as much competition as possible within our squad and are keen to play in a different way with plenty of threat going forward. Jack fits the bill on this side so it`s a no brainer”.