In his new role as head coach of the Baltimore Blast, David Bascome says he looks forward to continuing the team’s legacy of being a pillar in the community and bringing people together, fans and players alike.
Bascome has spent 16 seasons with the Blast, eight of which ended with championships. He won three titles as a player, one as a player-coach and another four as an assistant coach. Now he is replacing Danny Kelly as the head coach of the Blast, a member of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL).
Kelly had been the coach since 2006, but the Blast announced May 28 he was moving on. Baltimore finished the 2019-20 season 15-8, but the MASL playoffs were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bascome thinks the coaching change will be more of a transition for the players than it will be for him because he has been around for so long. The big difference now is that his is the loudest voice. Players have to get used him in his new role as leader, which he admits might not be as simple as it sounds.
“They like assistant coaches. But then when your voice gets louder … oh boy,” Bascome said on Glenn Clark Radio May 28.
He doesn’t use that tough voice during games. He sees games as culminations of all the work that leads up to them. To Bascome, accountability means having prepared and practiced well enough to be able to play to a certain standard.
“When they play, they should be just enjoying themselves, enjoying the game so you can see the fruits of the labor that we have put in,” Bascome said.
For Bascome, the Blast is so much more than a MASL team. He appreciates the storied past of the team (nine league titles since 1992) and its longtime place as a unifier in Baltimore. This summer, he will take over leadership of the team’s annual camps that are directed toward getting young people involved in soccer.
Bascome wants the Blast to remain a vital part of the sports landscape in Baltimore, with a passion for the team being passed down through generations.
“That is the piece that I am excited about as well, continuing that leadership and development,” Bascome said.
Bascome said that now more than ever, he recognizes the need to be a unifying force because everybody is looking at a “new norm” due to the pandemic. The Blast has the ability to bring people together and alleviate fear of what may lie ahead in life, he said.
He said that athletics can support people and help them get over that fear as a community.
“This is why sports become more important,” Bascome said.
He wants to demand that players know what integrity and accountability look like both on and off the field, upholding what Bascome sees as a responsibility to the fans who pay to come to the games.
“We are entertainers. They’re not coming to games to come there and watch us argue or complain to a referee,” Bascome said. “No, this is a different time. They’re coming to games to enjoy and to experience, to have a great experience.”
He sees everything as a give and take, and he wants to show that he is going to uphold the same high standards he has for his players. He plans to hold workshops and classes to help players understand the intricacies of the game. Bascome expects his players to want to do a little bit extra.
“So that’s what they are going to see – a great accountability, making sure that if they give everything and continue to give everything they got on the field, I have to also transfer and support what they’re doing outside the field,” Bascome said. “And that’s how you build their trust, and that’s how they continue to spread knowledge to other young people.”
Bascome is very excited to lead the team, and he knows that he has plenty of supporters in his native Bermuda. He said friends and family already want to hold parties to watch the games. He is happy that the sport has the ability to bring people, communities and countries together.
“I’m excited about that because when I [played] in Harrisburg, they would get every game on,” Bascome said. “I don’t know how they did it. They got VHS back in the day, and they got that game and they played it every Tuesday like it was live, so this is a big thing for my country.”
For now, Bascome will wait until he can start doing everything he wants to do with the team.
For more from Bascome, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Blast