Rapids make 17-year-old midfielder from Ken Caryl the team’s youngest-ever signing

COMMERCE CITY — Cole Bassett was in fourth grade when the Rapids won the MLS Cup in 2010. At school the next day, he went out to recess more determined than ever to play for them when he grew up.

“It just made me train even harder,” said Bassett, who joined the team Friday as the youngest signing in team history only six days after his 17th birthday. “We had this dirt field at our elementary school. I went out there the next day and we were playing a ton, talking about it all recess.”

Bassett, a Chatfield High School junior who lives in Ken Caryl, is a midfielder the Rapids prize for athletic ability and intangibles, including unusual maturity for his age.

“I don’t think it’s out of range of possibility to see him on the bench and making an appearance this year,” said Rapids executive vice president and general manager Pádraig Smith.

A former Colorado Rush player who signed with the Rapids Development Academy last year, Bassett has been training on and off with the first team for eight months. He’s a skinny 5-foot-11, but Smith thinks he’s not done growing. The team will put some muscle on him, too.

“When it comes to evaluating players at that age, you’re looking for their skill set across all elements – technical, tactical, physical, mental and lifestyle,” Smith said. “The technical, that’s pretty evident. The physical, he’s got a great frame that he can grow into. Technical side of it, he’s got all the raw materials. Tactical side of it, very smart.

“Then you’re looking at the mental and the lifestyle piece. I’ve been blown away by his maturity, by his dedication, his commitment and his motivation.”

He surprises his parents in that regard, too.

“He’s just the most motivated kid, who has had such a focus,” said his father, George. “He doesn’t have an interest in much else besides soccer. He’s so committed to being great.”

Bassett started playing soccer at age 4. He also played some baseball and basketball but committed himself fully to soccer just before he became a teenager.

“One thing he’s always done is write down his goals on paper,” said his mother, Amy. “He looks at those all the time. This has definitely been on that list. He’s been very focused and driven since he was very young.”

It’s a lot to take in for a kid a week before the start of his junior year of high school. He contacted his guidance counselor Friday to tell him the news so they can work out a school schedule around team training sessions. It could mean taking some classes online.

One of his favorite players when he was little was Rapids striker Conor Casey. Now he stays after practice to work on his finishing skills with Casey, a Rapids assistant coach.

Smith foresees him playing as a “box-to-box” midfielder with a game much like that of Kellyn Acosta, a U.S. national team midfielder whom the Rapids recently acquired.

“He’s got goals in his game, but he knows how to …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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