Bascome ready to begin anew

Blast coach plans to launch league in native Bermuda

Pro soccer

December 30, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

Soccer has been the salvation for David Bascome.

Beset by a troubled youth followed by a banner career in the sport he loves, the Blast's player-assistant coach has laid the groundwork for another new beginning in his native Bermuda, where he will launch the island's first professional league in May.

In turn, he said he hopes his enterprise can provide to others the foundation for the life-changing experience that the sport presented to him.

"I was driven to the game," said Bascome, now 36 and a 16-year veteran of pro soccer. "It was all I had. It's been my life and why it's a passion for me. I want to run this league because other kids out there are going through the same things I did. This is like, I can save somebody."

The contrast between the two halves of his life is graphic.

Product of a broken marriage, he and his two brothers (both of whom will coach teams in the Bermuda league) and one sister spent 2 1/2 years in a foster home and "stayed at different places" throughout their youth. Before entering the foster home, they were left with their father after the breakup and, with the cost of living high, the father made a tough decision to continue his education.

"I don't want to come across as bitter," Bascome said. "My father is more like a hero to me. He had some hard things to deal with. I don't blame anybody."

Although it is difficult to envision now because of his loquacious nature, David also had a speech impediment.

"I used to stutter and stammer. People would call on the phone and I'd hang up," he said. "People look at me now and I can't stop talking. I guess it's why I do that now, talk a lot. I can get it all out."

"David is probably our best guy for speaking engagements," said Blast president-general manager Kevin Healey. "He does a terrific job of getting kids to pay attention and he particularly has a way with young ones, keeping them on track to what he's talking about."

His eloquence also extends to the regular column he writes for the Bermuda Sun on the subjects of "soccer and life. He is very well respected in Bermuda," Healey said.

Bascome had to deal with other issues too painful to recall while growing up, but it was after he served a two-week jail term while at Anderson (S.C.) Community College as a teenager that he changed course dramatically. Bascome wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the offense.

"I got caught up in a lot of things," he said. "I had to decide how much the game meant to me. I had been through too much and I actually thought I'd be locked up somewhere for good or end up on the street. Once I made the decision `not me,' that was it."

How far has he come since those trying times? He is now the 12th leading scorer in Major Indoor Soccer League history after amassing 1,027 points, has won two league titles with the Blast and was chosen a player-coach for this season because he has a "very good knowledge of the game, is very organized, communicates well with players and has a bit of an international flair," Healey said.

The regular season ended for him Dec. 2 when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, but Bascome said he hopes - perhaps optimistically so - to return for any playoff action the Blast may earn.

Despite the injury, he was back on the bench with his teammates by the second half of the game. "I needed to show my face to keep the morale going," he said. "I wasn't going to sit up in the changing room and mope about it. My presence was what was important."

At practice, he is in the middle of things, cumbersome brace and all. Obviously, mobility is limited, but not his input.

As for the soccer league, games will be played outdoors at Bermuda's national stadium in Hamilton with indoor rules between eight six-man teams. The 120 players in the Island Soccer League will be natives for the first few years and play will culminate Aug. 18 with the All-Star Game.

"The main purpose is to rejuvenate soccer in Bermuda," Bascome said. "The passion is being hidden. Guys are retiring at early ages, 24 and 25, because of the cost of living. We're trying to give them incentive. The theme is `Our pride, Our passion, Our game.' It can be stressed that sports is a way out."

No one knows that better than David Bascome.

Today's game

Matchup -- Blast (4-4) @ Chicago Storm (6-4)

Site -- Sears Centre, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Time -- 2 p.m.

Radio -- WCBM (680 AM)

Series -- Blast leads 1-0.

Outlook -- The Blast, 0-4 on the road this season, is coming off a 15-4 defeat at Detroit on Dec. 16. The Blast defeated the Storm, 18-12, on Nov. 11. Blast midfielder Denison Cabral has scored in five of the six games he has played in 2006. The Storm swept MISL Players of the Week awards for the first time, with G Jim Larkin, D Randy Soderman and rookie F Stephen Armstrong all winning for their respective positions. However, Chicago followed last week's 12-2 win over California with a 10-8 loss to visiting Philadelphia last night.

Kent Baker

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