Rai Simons

Full Contact Player

Rai Simons

Chesterfield

Striker

11.01.1996

Bermudan

Rai has already represented his country (Bermuda) eight times at full international level (six being FIFA recognised caps), scoring four goals in the process, and has many international Under 20 appearances to his name. His most recent full international starts were against Grenada on the 6th March, where he scored and assisted in a 2-2 draw and then on the 25th March 2015 he started in the vital 2018 World Cup qualifying tie away to Bahamas (which Bermuda won 5-0). He played a crucial role as a substitute in Bermuda's tough away fixture against Guatemala on the 12th June 2015 and impressed again in the home leg.

Rai signed for Ilkeston FC in the summer of 2013, as part of an innovative project that saw Ilkeston offering educational and football opportunities to a number of players from Bermuda.

Throughout the first half of the 2013/2014 season Rai scored regularly for Ilkeston's Academy sides and forced his way in to first team reckoning, although a series of minor injuries halted his progress in the second half of the season. The summer of 2014 saw international duty again, with Rai spearheading Bermuda Under 20's World Cup qualifier campaign, the highlight of which saw him score a hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Guadeloupe.

Returning for the 2014/2015 season at Ilkeston without any summer break, Rai took no time at all to ease himself back in to goal-scoring form for Ilkeston's academy/reserve sides, scoring 17 goals in his first 12 appearances.

On 9th December 2014, Rai scored his first senior goal for Ilkeston, netting the opener in a 3-1 away cup win at Heanor. Rai's first league start for Ilkeston came on 10th January 2015 against Rushall and he put in a man of the match performance in another 3-1 away win. A few days later, Rai scored two goals in another cup win and then his first league goal came on the 17th January 2015 to complete a fabulous 7 days in his emerging career.

After returning from World Cup duty in late March, League One club Chesterfield beat off interest from a number of other professional clubs to secure Rai's services for the 2015/2016 season - in a deal which saw Rai remain with Ilkeston until the end of the season.

Rai joined up with Chesterfield for the first time under the new management of Dean Saunders in July 2015 and he scored his first senior goal for the Spireites in a pre-season friendly on 28th July 2015 against his former club Ilkeston (in a match arranged as part of the transfer deal between the two clubs). Rai also scored three goals in his first two starts for Chesterfield's new Under 21 side, once their season got underway in September 2015.

On the 26th September 2015 Rai was called up to the first team bench for the League One fixture against Burton Albion and in the 66th minute he entered the field of play making his Football League and professional debut. He impressed in that and a further sub appearance against Blackpool, such that on the 3rd October 2015 Rai started his first Football League game providing an early assist as Chesterfield won 2-1 away to Crewe. On the 10th October 2015 a fabulous few weeks for Rai would get even better - he scored his first professional and League goal at home to Gillingham.

Rai's second goal for Chesterfield came in front of the live TV cameras - scoring the vital third goal in a 4-1 away win to FC Utd in the FA Cup first round on 9th November 2015. On the 21st November he notched his third goal - an excellent strike away to Port Vale in League One - and on the 2nd January 2016 Rai scored two more goals after coming on as a substitute at home to Shrewsbury. As the New Year commenced, Rai's introduction to professional football had seen him score 5 goals in only 4 starts, and 18 appearances in total.
























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