Jordan Coduri, a 25-year-old midfielder with non-league Penistone Church, wrote himself into White Rose folklore on Sunday by scoring Yorkshire’s first goal on their international football debut against the Isle of Man.
The match, watched by a crowd of around 500 at the home of Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare FC, and recognised by CONIFA, a federation for teams from “nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports-isolated territories”, ended 1-1 after Furo Davies had scored earlier for the visitors.
While some had mocked the ambitions of Yorkshire to enter the international stage, there was no doubting the enthusiasm of the boisterous crowd nor the unpaid players including Coduri, who admitted the chance to claim the history-making opener had played on his mind.
Coduri said: “When the opportunity to play for Yorkshire came up I jumped at the chance. The lads had all been talking about who might get that first goal, and nothing has made me prouder than to take that opportunity.”
Seon Ripley had missed the first chance to make an historic mark for Yorkshire when his early first-half penalty was saved by Isle of Man goalkeeper Dean Kearns.
Davies’ crashing opener early in the second period looked set to earn the Manxmen victory until Coduri raced onto a fine through-ball from Pat McGuire.
Yorkshire will host a six-team tournament in May, including the likes of Tibet and the Chagos Islands, while Yorkshire chairman Phil Hegarty is already looking at expanding the player pool.
He added: “We are going to keep playing and get ourselves high enough up the CONIFA rankings to hopefully get us into the European Championships next year, and the World Cup after that. At the moment our squad consists of players born in Yorkshire but we are looking at a grandfather clause, as well as one that allows people who have been here for a certain period of time to also be considered.”