T&T defender Leland Archer is hoping his training stint with Scottish Premiership club Hibernians FC will jump start European professional career.
The 24-year-old Archer and midfielder Robbie Crawford kicked off the strategic partnership player development between United Soccer League's (USL) Charleston Battery with Hibernian FC, earlier this month.
The partnership will provide collaboration between both clubs on matters including player development, scouting efforts, operational efficiency and community engagement. The two historic organisations envision an evolving relationship founded on shared values and philosophies employed on and off the pitch.
The two players began training with Hibernian FC earlier this month to gain valuable experience in a top-tier European professional league during the Battery’s off-season and likewise, Hibernian players will have the opportunity to train in Charleston with the Battery.
Crawford enjoyed a productive season with the Battery as was voted as the cub’s “Defensive Player of the Year” as well as “Most Valuable Player” after he was selected to the USL All-Second Team.
And speaking in Scotland with deadlinenews.co.uk, the former Fatima College standout says he is hopeful of landing a deal at Easter Road as he knows a switch to Scotland could provide a launchpad for the rest of his career.
“Scotland is a good league and a lot of excellent players start their careers there before moving to the English Premier League or other countries in Europe,” Archer continued. “The level is very good.
“I looked at how Hibs were doing this season and saw they were in fourth position, with some good teams ahead of them, so I know how high the standard will be.”
The transatlantic link-up will see the sides collaborate on scouting, player development and operational matters and, as well as players from the States trying their luck in Scotland, it is expected that several Hibs kids will be afforded the opportunity to head to Charleston on loan.
Archer told The Leagues: World Soccer Podcast: “The partnership is huge for the future of the club and I would imagine Charleston will get some good players in return to help them out as well as players like myself getting the opportunity to go to Edinburgh.
“It can only be good for the long-term future of the club.”
Battery star Crawford, who enjoyed spells with Morton, Alloa and Raith before crossing the pond in February, has also linked up with the Hibees as he maintains his fitness ahead of the 2021 USL campaign.
And Archer hopes Crawford can act as a tour guide and help him get used to the Scottish twang.
“Robbie can help me settle and hopefully he can show me around the city a little bit,” said the 6ft4ins centre-half. “Plus they talk a little faster over here, so maybe he can help me with the accent!
“No, I’m really excited to show what I can do here and felt like this was an opportunity I had to grab.
“I didn’t know this would be a possibility when the [Charleston] season ended and had a slight vacation – but as soon as I heard about this chance, I got straight back into my playing mindset!
“It’s just been a case of getting used to the time difference – five hours ahead – and catching up with the sleeping pattern, in preparation.”