Cole Bassett is not your average high schooler. This past Saturday night, while most people his age were worrying about dates to the Homecoming dance and playing video games in their parents’ basement, the Homegrown midfielder was doing something a bit more memorable. He was making history for his hometown soccer club.
In the 71st minute of the MLS match between the Portland Timbers and Bassett's Colorado Rapids, the 17-year-old stepped on the field as a professional soccer player in front of 21,144 screaming fans and the famed 'Timbers Army' supporter group. In doing so, he stamped his mark on the Rapids’ 22-year history becoming the youngest player to feature in an MLS match for the club.
Since his signing was announced on August 10, Bassett's demeanor in the dressing room and skills on the training field were enough to impress his new boss. Not only did he make history in Portland, he held his own on the pitch against players nearly double his age.
“He’s someone that we as a staff and myself really believe in. We trust him,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson said postgame. “I thought he was outstanding when he came on. He was under pressure at times. He did well on the ball. I was pleased with him.”
Bassett, a native of Littleton and student at Chatfield High School, joined the Rapids Development Academy in 2017. He became the eighth Development Academy player to sign a first-team contract just weeks ago.
“It’s definitely a proud moment for me and my family,” Bassett said postgame. “I’ve worked so hard for this for so many years. I’m really proud to make my debut, but I wish it could have ended in a better result because we deserve more and have been working hard.”
Hudson didn't believe a hostile road crowd was too big of a moment for the teenager.
“I personally wouldn’t have thrown him in if I didn’t believe he could do it,” Hudson said. “He earned a professional contract, he earned a place on the bench, and he earned a place coming off of the bench all because he has a strong character and that is why we believe in him.”
Bassett's teammate Jack Price expanded on Hudson’s sentiments.
“He was great,” Price said. “He’s demanding – he wants the ball. If he wants to get in this team that’s what he’s got to do. I thought he was outstanding when he came on. It was good to see. I want to see him play a bit more because he’s a good footballer.”
Bassett's MLS debut came exactly one week after his professional debut in Memphis when he appeared in a 3-0 win against the Tulsa Roughnecks FC during a USL friendly on September 1.
This Saturday, the Colorado Rapids take on Atlanta United FC (TICKETS) at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, with Bassett potentially on the slate to make his home MLS debut.
"He's just got to keep his head down and work hard," Price said. "He'll do that because he's a great lad. He's going to go a long way, that's for sure. "
Rapids Development Academy Players MLS Debut by Age
|Cole Bassett||17 Years, 42 Days||vs Portland Timbers (9/8/18)|
|Shane O'Neill||19 Years, 3 Days||vs Portland Timbers (9/5/12)|
|Dillon Serna||19 Years, 216 Days||vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/27/13)|
|Davy Armstrong||20 Years, 359 Days||vs Houston Dynamo (10/27/12)|
|Kortne Ford||21 Years, 73 Days||vs Sporting KC (4/9/17)|
|Steven Emory||N/A||Did not make MLS appearance|
|Ricardo Perez||N/A||Yet to make MLS debut|
|Sam Vines||N/A||Yet to make MLS debut|