While the professional club game is on hiatus for the impending 2022 FIFA World Cup, some players will get a chance to see family and friends they hadn’t seen in months.
For Cole Bassett, it will be a homecoming.
On Friday, the Colorado Rapids announced the team had recalled Bassett’s loan from Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands, effective immediately, and Bassett will join the Rapids for preparations ahead of the 2023 MLS season.
Bassett, a 21-year-old Littleton native, went on loan in January to Eredevisie side Feyenoord for the second half of its 2022 season. The midfielder made nine appearances in Rotterdam, as the team reached the UEFA Conference League final.
In order to make a potential move to Feyenoord permanent, he joined Fortuna, where he played 11 times tallying only 205 total minutes under three managers. With the minutes not adding up, a decision was made to recall Bassett.
While he enjoyed the team atmosphere, it was admittedly a difficult time period for Bassett. Still, what matters to him is playing meaningful minutes and he feels ready to do that back in his home state.
“Right now I’m trying to spend as much time with family and friends as I can, but whenever something is official whether it’s at the Rapids or Feyenoord, my mind is gonna officially focus on that,” Bassett told The Post. “If I am coming back to the Rapids, I’ll be fully focused here and my head can’t be anywhere else.
“It hurt as a kid that grew up not seeing them make the playoffs, so I definitely think that would be my goal and I’d be fully in on the project here in Colorado.”
As part of the original agreement, Feyenoord will still retain the option to buy Bassett on a permanent basis, but it would have to exercised by March 2023.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Cole back home to Colorado,” Rapids executive Pádraig Smith said in a team statement. “We all know the caliber of player he is, and given his obvious familiarity with our club and the league, we believe he can be a key contributor as we make a push to return to the playoffs in 2023.”
Bassett spent the summer with Feyenoord at preseason camp, where he got a chance to wear the captain’s armband and was among the leading goal scorers. The club was hopeful he’d stay and play a key role off the bench, but Bassett wanted to prove that he could be a regular starter and searched for a team he thought he could contribute on, which was Fortuna Sittard.
“I look back at that preseason and I feel good about it,” Bassett said. “I think I really did what I needed to do, but at a top club like Feyenoord, I had some pretty good players in my position, the captain, and another player is going to the World Cup for Poland. Breaking in at Feyenoord is tough, but I feel I showed what I was all about during preseason.”
Fortuna’s manager to start the season, Sjors Ultee, wanted Bassett on the club. But after Bassett’s first game, Ultee was fired. Two more stepped in, but points have been hard to come by. Bassett played 11 times, mostly off the bench, scoring once and adding an assist. Even after he started finding form, it didn’t result in an increase in minutes.
“There was a lot of stuff that didn’t make much sense and it was very hard to process on my own over there,” Bassett said. “I eventually figured out everything, but for me as a footballer, I just want to get past that part of my career. I wish the team well, though, but I’m just ready for the next challenge and don’t want to think about too much what happened (at Fortuna Sittard) and move on from that.”
Now that he’s home among family and catching up with his Rapids teammates, he’s ready for whatever 2023 throws at him.
“There are certain things that happen that are sometimes out of our control,” he said. “I just try to deal with the situation the best I can. Now that I’m back home, I’m excited for the next challenge.”