Feyenoord: Get To Know Cole Bassett
Updated: Jan 19
Feyenoord fans will welcome 20-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett to Rotterdam next week, as the American player is granted his wish of joining a European club with a reported 18-month loan spell from his hometown team, the Colorado Rapids.
Bassett will depart, having made 72 regular season appearances for the MLS club, starting 52 of them. He scored 13 goals and bagged 11 assists.
He featured in 32 of the club’s 34 regular season games in 2021, which included 23 starts. Both numbers were career highs in what was his third full season.
Bassett, with his slim build, arrived at the Rapids Academy in 2017, having spent his younger years at another local club, Colorado Rush (pictured). He signed pro forms 13 days after his 17th birthday, making him - at the time - the youngest signing in club history.
Born in Littleton, south of Denver, to George and Amy, the confident Bassett broke into the Rapids first team just weeks after signing, making his professional debut in a 2-0 loss at Portland Timbers on September 8, 2018.
He had to wait until his fourth appearance for his first start, in which he helped the Rapids to a 2-0 win at Minnesota United. He remains the youngest player ever to complete a full game for the club, aged 17 years and 77 days. His first goal came in the final game of the 2018 season. It was the equalizer in a come-from-behind 2-1 home win over FC Dallas.
From those first few games at the end of a tough 2018 for the club, Bassett went on to become a regular in the first team, though not someone always guaranteed a starting spot. During 2020 and 2021, he was competing in a midfield with the likes of captain, Jack Price, US international Kellyn Acosta, and the highest paid player, Younes Namli, who has recently signed for Sparta Rotterdam.
Bassett, who began playing football at the age of four, was granted a golden opportunity early in the 2021 season, when Namli sustained an injury which kept him out for much of the campaign. Even with the arrival of Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye in the summer, Bassett was able to secure valuable minutes and found ways to contribute.
Of his five goals, one was from the penalty spot at Minnesota United, with the Rapids a goal down and a man down. The converted spot kick sparked a comeback and a 3-1 win.
Quietly spoken Bassett was also on the scoresheet with an MLS Goal of the Week contender in the final game of the regular season, and a 5-2 home victory over LAFC.
What Bassett lacks in physicality, he more than makes up for in energy. Unlikely to be putting in a crunching challenge, but he has a wonderful engine and can put in gut-busting runs all day. The midfielder anticipates well, with several of his goals coming from ghosting in late, unmarked, and untracked.
Good as a dead-ball specialist, and with decent vision, Bassett works best in the center of midfield. Not graced with natural speed, he can spot an opportunity and thread the ball in order to spring an attack.
In other words, though he was used on the flanks, it is not his strongest position. He does not have the pace to take players on, but can deliver a tasty, teasing ball into the box.
It should be interesting to see how Bassett copes with the step up in intensity, both on and off the field. No longer the homegrown player, the home comforts will be no more.
Bassett can expect greater scrutiny, both from fans and the media. It will be an adjustment, but this is someone who has made no secret of his desire to play in Europe. An Arsenal fan growing up, his ambitions are lofty, and he will be desperate to impress.
When he departs for the Netherlands on Tuesday - leaving behind George, Amy, younger brother Sam and younger sister, Maya - the hard work starts again. And it won't be his first visit. He was part of a Generation Adidas trip to Amsterdam in August of 2016 (pictured).
NOTE: Bassett will be just 30 minutes by train from his former Rapids teammate, Sam Vines, who has been at Belgian club Royal Antwerp since August. He may face another former teammate, Younes Namli, when Feyenoord hosts Sparta Rotterdam on February 6th.
The soon-to-be Feyenoord midfielder will not be the first American to join the Dutch club. Cory Gibbs played for the Rotterdam team from 2004-06. Gibbs would later make 29 appearances over two seasons (2008-09) for the Rapids. He is now an agent and among his clients are USA and Juventus midfielder, Weston McKennie.
Other ex-Feyenoord players include Geoff and Steve Wegerle (1975-76), the older brothers of Rapids original Roy Wegerle, who was born in South Africa but went on to represent the USA at international level. And then there is John Metgod, a player with Feyenoord from 1988-94, and briefly an assistant coach to Pablo Mastroeni in Colorado in 2014.
About the author: Since 2013, Richard Fleming has been the TV commentator and host, covering the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer. During 16 years with the BBC, he covered two FIFA World Cups, five Africa Cup of Nations, a FIFA Confederations Cup, and a European Championship. He has also covered UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and football at all levels of the game during more than 30 years covering the sport.