Andrew Bascome is determined to use his newly formed FC Bascome Bermuda to help lay the foundations for future generations to flourish through football.
Momentum is building around the club, which will feature in the USL League Two competing in the Mid-Atlantic Division, which includes seven teams.
The USL League Two, formerly the Premier Development League, provides a pathway for players to progress to the professional ranks and while Bascome concedes the inclusion of a host of foreign players will be essential, he has aspirations that the move can bring long-term benefits to help the local game prosper.
“We don’t know how many times these sort of opportunities will come along and so we have to take advantage of it to the fullest,” said Bascome, the club’s co-founder and head coach ahead of their season opener against Lone Star FC at North Field on May 9.
“This is something we can give back as reward to Bermudian players and it’s important that they take it. There will be a big emphasis on the players that have committed to playing locally, because it is those players that keep our leagues going.
“Of course, we have to support those with overseas players, not just foreign, because we have some talented Bermudians overseas. We will look at what we need and we will only bring in what we need.
“Our primary goal is to develop the local football community, but we recognise we can also provide an entertainment outlet for Bermuda and Bermuda football fans.
“We have an incredible support network behind us with everyone involved, so I can’t see why players wouldn’t want to take advantage of this.
“We want this to be a journey for the future, for the younger kids that are playing football.”
Bascome was speaking at Grotto Bay Beach Resort yesterday as part of a new partnership between the club, the resort, National Sports Centre, and Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), which will help accommodate the visits of Mid-Atlantic Division counterparts Lone Star, Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United, West Chester United, Evergreen Hammers and Lehigh Valley United.
The seven home matches will bring 840 participants to Bermuda this summer, generating an estimated $1.1million in spending and amounting to a total 637 hotel rooms.
Under the partnership, Grotto Bay will host the visiting teams.
As well as the initiative aligning with the National Tourism Plan and goals of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s sports business development strategy, Hazel Clarke, the BTA’s director of sports business development, reiterated Bascome’s desire to use the sport as a vehicle to create opportunities for the island’s youth.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Bermudian football, for our tourism industry, and for Bermuda as a whole,” Clarke said. “We thank FC Bascome for creating this opportunity and driving this project forward, offering young men exposure to potential college scholarships and professional Major League Soccer (MLS) opportunities.
“There’s no doubt that some of our young people will dream a little bigger today.”