Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett recently concluded a training stint in London with the Arsenal U-23 side. For Bassett, the experience allowed him to continue training at a high level during the offseason as he heads into his second full campaign in MLS. We caught up with the 18-year-old and asked him to reflect on the opportunity, what he learned, and how the sessions may help his development and the Rapids in 2020.
What did a typical day look like during your stay?
I woke up around 7:45 AM and got ready, ate breakfast and then left for the training ground at 8:30 AM. Got in around 8:45 AM, and then would go eat a bit more breakfast at the training ground. After training, we went into the gym around 10:00 AM to do rehab and stretching. We did about 45 minutes of gym work and mobility and stretching prior to the actual session. We then trained at 11:00 AM for about 2 hours. After that, depending on the day, we either lifted right away, or we went to eat lunch first then lifted afterward. Normally, we left the training ground around 3:00 PM. It’s a long day, but it’s filled with football, so I love it.
What was it like your first day training at the Arsenal Training Centre?
The facilities are amazing. When I first got there, I was shocked how many fields there were and how nice the U-18s and U-23s dressing rooms were. They were better than a lot of first team dressing rooms. The gym is also one of the biggest I’ve seen. I was a bit jet-lagged for my first training session from the long flight and not getting much sleep the night before, but after a couple of drills, I felt comfortable.
How was it fitting into the group and style of play?
The style of play with the 23s is actually a similar style to how we play with Robin [Fraser]. Possession oriented with positioning being key in being able to break teams down with the ball. They closed you down very quick, and you had to be quick on the ball, and know what you’re going to do with it before you get it. I felt like I fit in really nice. The guys were very welcoming, and they all speak English, so it was very easy to communicate and train well.
What was one of your favorite parts about being in London?
Favorite part about being in London is the Underground train system they have. It makes traveling around so much easier because London is so big, but taking that around makes it so much quicker. The people are also very nice.
What is your biggest takeaway that you will take with you into the 2020 season with the Rapids?
The biggest takeaway I have is being confident and having a winning mentality. Obviously, you need to be very good on both sides of the ball, but having this mentality and confidence about you is what gets you into a team like Arsenal. I now want to come back to Colorado even more motivated to have a really good season with the team and help us reach playoffs, because, if you’re a player, you want to play and win in the biggest games possible to help you develop. The playoffs is where I can develop this winning mentality and help instill it in myself.